Catastrophizing is a natural response to being in pain. It has, however, been shown to increase pain levels and suffering. If you're doing it and you can stop it, you should see a reduction in your pain. One way to stop catastrophizing is to watch for times when you use words (either to yourself or others) like "always" or "never".
Studies show that people who are catastrophizing show more activation in the parts of their brains that control the anticipation of and attention to pain as well as the emotional response to pain.
How To: Rate how much each statement is true for you on a scale from 0 (not at all) to 4 (all the time) and then add up your score.
Moderate catastrophizer - mid teens
- I worry all the time whether it will end
- I feel I can't go on.
- It's terrible and I think it's never going to get any better.
- It's awful and I feel that it overwhelms me.
- I feel I can't stand it anymore
- I become afraid that the pain will get worse
- I keep thinking of other painful events
- I anxiously want the pain to go away
- I can't seem to get it out of my mind
- I keep thinking about how much it hurts
- I keep thinking about how badly I want the pain to stop
- There's nothing I can do to reduce the intensity of the pain
- I wonder whether something serious may happen
Typical fibromyalgia score - mid to high 20's.
Taken from the book "A Nation in Pain" by Judy Foreman
The 13-Item Pain Catastrophizing Scale
If you're catastrophizing your pain will almost certainly be worse