Is chronic pain associated with somatization/hypochondriasis? An evidence-based structured review

David A. Fishbain, John E. Lewis, Jinrun Gao, Brandly Cole, R. Steele Rosomoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This is an evidence-based structured review. Objectives: The objectives of this review were to answer the following questions: (1) Are somatization/hypochondriasis associated with chronic pain? (2) Is the degree of somatization/hypochondriasis related to pain levels? (3) Does pain treatment improve somatization/hypochondriasis? (4) Are some pain diagnoses differentially associated with somatization/hypochondriasis? Methods: Fifty-seven studies which fulfilled inclusion criteria and had high quality scores were sorted by the above-mentioned objectives. Agency for health care policy and research guidelines were utilized to type and characterize the strength/consistency of the study evidence within each objective. Results: Somatization and hypochondriasis were both consistently associated with chronic pain (consistency ratings B and A, respectively). Study evidence indicated a correlation between pain intensity and presence of somatization and hypochondriasis (consistency rating A and B, respectively). Pain treatment improved somatization and hypochondriasis (consistency rating B and A, respectively). Some chronic pain diagnostic groups somatized more (consistency rating B). Conclusions: Somatization is commonly associated with chronic pain and may relate to pain levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-467
Number of pages19
JournalPain Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009


  • Chronic pain
  • Evidence-based structured review
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Idiopathic symptoms
  • Pain
  • Patients with chronic pain
  • Review
  • Somatic symptoms
  • Somatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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