Pain, stress and quality of life


Long time pain in the low back and neck is often difficult to diagnose and treat. We have known for a long time that patients’ personality and motivation are crucial for progress in treatment. Patients treated by physiotherapists in southern Stockholm were invited to 2 seminars on Pain, Stress, and Quality of Life. The patients were taught about pain in general, about stress and how to handle it, about body awareness and how to handle daily situations. During the seminars we collected data about the patients’ background, coping resources and quality of life. They also filled out the personal pain drawing test (PPD). They are offered individual counseling by a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist and 10 meetings with a psychologist.

114 patients participated in 17 seminars. The patients were followed up. Half of the group had decreased pain according to the PPD, even those who had not consulted the psychology. Around 50% had less treatment by physiotherapist, 24% had less sick leave. 57% had started relaxation and/or exercise body awareness. The 34 patients treated by the psychologist (mostly with EMDR) increased their emotional and spiritual/philosophic coping resource as well as their emotional quality of life.

Our experiences are that many pain patients suffer from psychosomatic disorders and that psychological staffs is an effective and necessary part of the multidisciplinary treatment in primary health care.






Bertil Lilieblad

Original Work Citation

Lilieblad, B. (2004, June). Pain, stress and quality of life. In EMDR, biology and the body (P. Lieberman, Chair). Symposium conducted at the 5th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Stockholm, Sweden



“Pain, stress and quality of life,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 26, 2021,

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