Anxiety and Depression Can Exacerbate Post-Operative Pain

APRIL 12, 2016
MD Magazine Staff

“In this study, older patients had lower HADS anxiety scores as well as expected pain scores,” the researchers observed. “The inverse relationship of age in the perception of postoperative pain has been reported in many studies, higher pain scores being associated with a younger age. This may possibly be attributed to the attitudes towards surgery, with easier acceptance of its reality as well as the probable prior exposure to the healthcare system in general. However, the age of the patients did not have any influence on the HADS depression scores as well as observed pain scores in this study…”
Interestingly, educational level of patients influenced both the expected and observed maximum pain scores in this study. The role of education levels in pain experience, along with racial and cultural factors, remains controversial.
“With a high prevalence of anxiety and depression in this study as well as their significant influences on postoperative pain, it may be worthwhile evaluating patients for these mood disorders during their preoperative assessment,” the researchers concluded. “Interventions may then be used, where possible, to address these disorders, with the aim of decreasing postoperative pain. These assessments should be done formally using tools such as the HADS questionnaire or any other similar and relevant screening tools.”

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