Journal: Schmerz. 2007 Jun 6; [E-publication ahead of print]
Author and affiliations: Häuser W. Zentrum für Schmerztherapie/Medizinische Klinik I (Gastroenterologie, Hepatologie, Stoffwechsel- und Infektionskrankheiten, Psychosomatik), Klinikum Saarbrücken, Saarbrücken, Deutschland, [E-mail: email@example.com ]
Introduction: The clinical experience that subjects claiming retirement pension tend to aggravate their symptoms in psychometric tests has not yet, to our knowledge, been empirically tested.
Methods: Pain intensities and the summary score of the Pain Disability Index (PDI) of 83 consecutive subjects diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) claiming retirement pension in medical assessment for the German Social Court were compared with 43 consecutive patients diagnosed with FMS of an outpatient pain department who did not claim retirement pension. Moreover, the relative predictive value of claiming retirement pension compared to other potential sociodemographic and clinical predictors of pain intensity and self-assessed disability was determined.
Results: Subjects claiming retirement pension within the context of medical testimony stated higher pain intensities and disabilities than patients who did not claim retirement pension (P<0.01 in all cases).
Claiming disability pension was an independent predictor of minimum pain intensity (r(2)=0.10, P=0.02), of maximum pain intensity (r(2)=0.16, P=0.002) and of the summary score of the PDI (r(2)=0.08, P=0.008).
Conclusions: The association between claiming retirement pension and high self-assessed pain and disability should be kept in mind in the context of pain therapy as well of medical expertise.