Terminology of Chronic Pain: The Need to Level the Playing Field Published by Dove Medical Press

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Clinicians and society as a whole need to appreciate language’s potential to further stigmatize and marginalize all patients suffering from chronic pain, and accordingly we are obligated to work toward a more language-neutral system of pain classification.

The Journal of Pain Research has published the commentary “Terminology of chronic pain: the need to “level the playing field.”

As corresponding author Dr John F. Peppin says “Terminology matters, yet little attention has been paid to the terms we use to categorize and diagnose our chronic pain patients. ‘Chronic cancer pain’ and ‘chronic non-cancer pain’ are replete in the literature; however, the distinction here is actually obscure. A patient with pain from a cancer etiology has no different physiology than a patient with pain of non-cancer etiologies. These terms are primarily philosophically based, rather than medical and physiologic. Pain mechanisms do not discriminate between cancer and non-cancer in pathophysiology. Therefore, we suggest that the terminology be changed to help us to better understand and treat all of our chronic pain patients who are suffering.”

Dr Peppin continues, “Perhaps a more prudent, less emotionally and philosophically charged set of terms would indicate the origin and generator of the pain, e.g., a patient with chest wall pain from radiation due to breast cancer would be labelled, ‘Chronic pain of breast cancer radiation treatment origin.’”

As Dr Richard Robinson, Associate Editor, explains, “This article addresses a timely and controversial topic in a thoughtful, as well as thought provoking, manner.”

The Journal of Pain Research is an international, peer-reviewed, open access, online journal that welcomes laboratory and clinical findings in the fields of pain research and the prevention and management of pain. Original research, reviews, symposium reports, hypothesis formation and commentaries are all considered for publication.

Dove Medical Press Ltd is a privately held company specializing in the publication of Open Access peer-reviewed journals across the broad spectrum of science, technology and especially medicine.

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Angela Jones
Dove Medical Press
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