Pain drawings in somatoform-functional pain

Egloff, Niklaus; Cámara, Rafael J A; von Känel, Roland; Klingler, Nicole; Marti, Elizabeth; Ferrari, Marie-Louise Gander (2012). Pain drawings in somatoform-functional pain. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 13, p. 257. London: BioMed Central 10.1186/1471-2474-13-257

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Background Pain drawings are a diagnostic adjunct to history taking, clinical examinations, and biomedical tests in evaluating pain. We hypothesized that somatoform-functional pain, is mirrored in distinctive graphic patterns of pain drawings. Our aim was to identify the most sensitive and specific graphic criteria as a tool to help identifying somatoform-functional pain. Methods We compared 62 patients with somatoform-functional pain with a control group of 49 patients with somatic-nociceptive pain type. All patients were asked to mark their pain on a pre-printed body diagram. An investigator, blinded with regard to the patients’ diagnoses, analyzed the drawings according to a set of numeric or binary criteria. Results We identified 13 drawing criteria pointing with significance to a somatoform-functional pain disorder (all p-values ≤ 0.001). The most specific and most sensitive criteria combination for detecting somatoform-functional pain included the total number of marks, the length of the longest mark, and the presence of symmetric patterns. The area under the ROC-curve was 96.3% for this criteria combination. Conclusion Pain drawings are an easy-to-administer supplementary technique which helps to identify somatoform-functional pain in comparison to somatic-nociceptive pain.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology > Centre of Competence for Psychosomatic Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Egloff, Niklaus; Camara, Rafael; von Känel, Roland and Gander, Marie-Louise




BioMed Central




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:36

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 04:43

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URI: (FactScience: 221782)

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