Recent research has sought to determine what chronic pain conditions are most closely linked to suicide risk. A study conducted in Spain found that suicidal ideation is highly prevalent among patients with severe fibromyalgia. Another study of military veterans examined the association between suicide risk and a wide range of chronic pain conditions and found evidence of elevated risk for all except arthritis and neuropathy.
PAINWeek faculty member Martin Cheatle, PhD, observed that adequate screening for this risk is complicated in today’s clinical setting because chronic pain care is often fragmented. “Primary care doctors often have the least amount of time and they need tools to be able to perform a quick screening and then have an action plan.” A validated 4-item scale may be more practical in a busy primary care practice, according to Dr. Cheatle. Read a news report on the pain/suicide risk relationship here.