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Abstract

Physicians are frequently called on to treat patients whose complaints of pain appear to be excessive, non-an-atomical, or otherwise out of proportion with the nature of the reported injury or of the physical findings. Not infre-quently, patients deny that they have even had an injury. Depending on the nature of the underlying injury. if it is identifiable, and of the associated physical findings, patients who have such a pain disorder may be diagnosed as having sympathetic dystrophy, causalgia, hysteria, or any one of a number of other diagnoses, in an attempt to name the cause of the excessive pain. The false sense of having made a diagnosis may obscure further investigation or an under-standing of related problems that the patient may have. To avoid such diagnostic ‘ ‘tunnel vision ’ ‘ , it is useful to cat-egorize an excessive, non-anatomical, or otherwise seem

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