In the majority of cases where we act for clients suffering from a chronic pain condition, it is necessary to obtain evidence from a psychiatrist or psychologist. Sufferers are usually concerned that the involvement of a psychiatrist or psychologist means that there is a suggestion that they are imaging their pain. That is not the case. Their pain is very real and it is important that those treating them explain how the pain that we feel is often a combination of physical and psychological factors.
It has been said that as many as 50% of people who suffer from chronic pain also suffer from clinical depression.
Clinical depression is not just a state of low mood; it is a psychological state that causes diverse symptoms, including lack of motivation, fatigue and feelings of helplessness. However, clinical depression often also results in physical symptoms, including pain. In such cases, the depression and pain are not easy to separate. If you suffer from depression or chronic pain, you tend to be less active as a result of your mind and body causing you to slow down. When the two are combined, it can be difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.
Accordingly, when it comes to treatment, it is often difficult to decide which to treat first.
Sufferers treated for their chronic pain in a pain clinic setting, will often be treated with a multi-disciplinary combination of physical and psychological therapy. This joint approach often achieves a far better outcome than treating one aspect in isolation.
A solicitor acting for a client with chronic pain should always discuss with their client whether psychological evidence may be required. It will be the rare case where it is not and to not consider it at all is blatantly negligent.