Pain Catastrophizing in Fibromyalgia


Potential Causes of Pain Catastrophizing

What causes catastrophizing in fibromyalgia? Pain is a subjective experience, as only you can describe the severity of the pain that you experience.

Catastrophizing is also difficult to analyze, because everyone deals with these anxieties in different ways. However, researchers do have a few possible explanations for this problem. There are several potential causes of catastrophizing, including:

  • Anxiety and depression – People that suffer from fibromyalgia are also more prone to anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, these issues also make it easier to focus on negativity. Catastrophizing is a severe form of anxiety. Those that already deal with depression or anxiety are more likely to catastrophize their fibromyalgia pain. In some cases, it can lead to panic attacks.
  • Neuroticism – Neuroticism is another potential cause of catastrophizing. Neuroticism is not a medical issue. It is a personality trait expressed by people that tend to remain in an anxious or negative emotional state for long stretches of time. The negativity expressed by people with neuroticism can increase the likelihood of pain catastrophizing. As they already focus on the negativity, it is easier for them to focus on their reaction to pain.
  • Specific situational triggers – Individuals may also have specific triggers that result in anxiety. In certain situations, the fear of pain may be heightened. For example, you may anticipate fibromyalgia pain when engaging in specific activities. When you engage in these activities, you may start to catastrophize your fibromyalgia pain.


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  1. says: Roselynn

    All this is true about catastrophizing however to stop doing it is easier said than done! When I feel it coming…..I immediately take a nap and go into a hypnotically self induced state. The only way for me to cope

  2. says: Maria Miranda

    I’m not sure what fibromyalgia is but I do know that I be in a lot of pain from my hip all the way down to my leg on the side even when I’m sleeping when I get up to use the restroom I have to limp because my whole hip hurts me and on the outside when I’m laying down on the left side it hurts really bad or if I’m sitting down and I have one leg folded like almost Indian style when I do get up I start limping because I cannot walk straight on my leg.

    1. says: Angie

      I would get checked for Sciatica. Not saying you don’t have Fibro but I have fibro and had Sciatica with the exact pain you describe. They prescribed Gabapentin for me and it did wonders!

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