Upper limb pain in primary care: health beliefs, somatic distress, consulting and patient satisfaction.
ABSTRACT Beliefs and mental well-being could influence decisions to consult about upper limb pain and satisfaction with care.
To describe beliefs about upper limb pain in the community and explore associations of beliefs and mental health with consulting and dissatisfaction.
Questionnaires were mailed to 4998 randomly chosen working-aged patients from general practices in Avon. We asked about upper limb pain, consulting, beliefs about symptoms, dissatisfaction with care, somatizing tendency (using elements of the Brief Symptom Inventory) and mental well-being (using the Short-Form 36). Associations were explored by logistic regression.
Among 2632 responders, 1271 reported arm pain during the past 12 months, including 389 consulters. A third or more of responders felt that arm pain sufferers should avoid physical activity, that problems would persist beyond 3 months, that a doctor should be seen straightaway and that neglect could lead to permanent harm. Consulters were significantly more likely to agree with these statements than other upper limb pain sufferers. The proportion of consultations attributable to such beliefs was substantial. Dissatisfaction with care was commoner in those with poor mental health: the OR for being dissatisfied (worst versus best third of the distribution) was 3.2 (95% CI 1.2-8.5) for somatizing tendency and 2.4 (95% CI 1.3-4.7) for SF-36 score. Both factors were associated with dissatisfaction about doctors' sympathy, communication and care in examining.
Negative beliefs about upper limb pain are common and associated with consulting. Somatizers and those in poorer mental health tend, subsequently, to feel dissatisfied with care.
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ABSTRACT: Somatisation is highly prevalent in primary care (present in 25% of visiting patients) but often goes unrecognised. Non-recognition may lead to ineffective treatment, risk of iatrogenic harm, and excessive use of healthcare services. To examine the effect of training on diagnosis of somatisation in routine clinical practice by general practitioners (GPs). Cluster randomised controlled trial, with practices as the randomisation unit. Twenty-seven general practices (with a total of 43 GPs) in Vejle County, Denmark. Intervention consisted of a multifaceted training programme (the TERM [The Extended Reattribution and Management] model). Patients were enrolled consecutively over a period of 13 working days. Psychiatric morbidity was assessed by means of a screening questionnaire. GPs categorised their diagnoses in another questionnaire. The primary outcome was GP diagnosis of somatisation and agreement with the screening questionnaire. GPs diagnosed somatisation less frequently than had previously been observed, but there was substantial variation between GPs. The difference between groups in the number of diagnoses of somatisation failed to reach the 5% significance (P = 0.094). However, the rate of diagnoses of medically unexplained physical symptoms was twice as high in the intervention group as in the control group (7.7% and 3.9%, respectively, P = 0.007). Examination of the agreement between GPs' diagnoses and the screening questionnaire revealed no significant difference between groups. Brief training increased GPs' awareness of medically unexplained physical symptoms. Diagnostic accuracy according to a screening questionnaire remained unaffected but was difficult to evaluate, as there is no agreement on a gold standard for somatisation in general practice.British Journal of General Practice 01/2004; 53(497):917-22. · 1.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Patients commonly present in primary care with symptoms for which no physical pathology can be found. This study is a review of published research on medically unexplained symptoms (MUPS) in primary care. A literature review and qualitative comparison of information was carried out. Four questions were addressed: what is the prevalence of MUPS; to what extent do MUPS overlap with psychiatric disorder; which psychological processes are important in patients with MUPS; and what interventions are beneficial? Neither somatised mental distress nor somatisation disorders, based on symptom counts, adequately account for most patients seen with MUPS. There is substantial overlap between different symptoms and syndromes, suggesting they have much in common. Patients with MUPS may best be viewed as having complex adaptive systems in which cognitive and physiological processes interact with each other and with their environment. Cognitive behavioural therapy and antidepressant drugs are both effective treatments, but their effects may be greatest when the patient feels empowered by their doctor to tackle their problem.British Journal of General Practice 04/2003; 53(488):231-9. · 1.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Musculoskeletal illness is a common cause of absenteeism from work, workers' compensation, and disability retirement, and accounts for 9.3% to 17% of patient contacts in general practice. To understand the increase in self-reported musculoskeletal illness and to improve treatment and prevention, it is important to know which factors to target when dealing with these patients. To investigate whether the prognosis for patients with musculoskeletal illness referred to physiotherapy from general practice can be predicted by the presence of psychological distress and somatisation identified by a general practitioner (GP) and standard questionnaires. A multi-practice survey based on questionnaires (index and three-month follow-up). Nine hundred and five consecutive patients referred to physiotherapy from 124 different general practices in Denmark were included. Outcome measures were physical health change, sick leave, patient self-rated improvement, and change in use of medication. Psychological distress and somatisation rated by both GPs and standard questionnaires acted with almost no exception as significant predictors of all four outcome measures. Psychological distress and somatisation are important factors when considering preventive initiatives and treatment of patients with musculoskeletal illness in general practice.British Journal of General Practice 08/2000; 50(456):537-41. · 1.83 Impact Factor