Psychophysiological Methods in the Assessment and Treatment of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

  • Herta Flor
  • Niels Birbaumer
Part of the The Plenum Series in Behavioral Psychophysiology and Medicine book series (SSBP)


Psychophysiological assessments of chronic musculoskeletal pain—specifically chronic back pain—have become very popular over the last decade (cf. Cram, 1988; Dolce & Raczynski, 1985; Flor, Miltner, & Birbaumer, 1992b). Bilateral asymmetries, abnormal resting tension levels, abnormal movement patterns, and abnormal reactivity to stressors have all been targets of assessment. However, there have been few attempts to apply psychophysiological theories to the study of chronic musculoskeletal pain and to establish a program of research based on hypotheses regarding psychophysiological specificities that may contribute to the development or maintenance of chronic pain, or to both processes. Moreover, grave methodological problems [e.g., inadequate sample selection, inadequate recording sites, lack of stressor definition (for a review, see Flor & Turk, 1989)] have led to very inconsistent results in the published literature.


Masseter Muscle Chronic Pain Patient Chronic Back Pain Skin Conductance Level Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herta Flor
    • 1
  • Niels Birbaumer
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral NeurobiologyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Clinical and Physiological PsychologyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  3. 3.Department of General PsychologyUniversitá degli StudiPadovaItaly

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