According to medical experts, it is an unpleasant emotional and sensory experience. It is oftentimes associated with damaged body tissues. Pain is a personal experience and it varies from one person to another.
A thorough psychological evaluation will rarely reveal that an individual is not a good candidate for Medtronic Pain Therapies because of overt psychological dysfunction and distress (e.g., major depression, homicidal behaviour). Typically, such gross psychological dysfunction is apparent to the physician who first evaluates the patient for an implantable therapy, and psychological evaluation serves to confirm the finding.
More commonly, a psychologist may elicit from the patient information that was never volunteered to the physician (or about which the physician never inquired), revealing the presence of "risk factors." These risk factors (e.g., personality disorders, somatisation, unrealistic outcomes expectations) may complicate a good outcome and should be identified before initiating Medtronic Pain Therapies. In some instances, these factors will exclude the patient from candidacy. In other cases, risk factors can be viewed as caution signs-efforts to modify risk factors can be incorporated into the overall treatment program to make the individual a better candidate for the therapy.
The role of the psychological evaluation is not to "rule in" or "rule out" a patient, but to identify patients in whom overall quality of life is likely to be significantly improved by a treatment plan that includes Medtronic Pain Therapies. The frequency with which a psychologist identifies previously unrecognized risk factors varies with the experience and expertise of the referring physician and the psychologist, but is sufficiently common to warrant psychological evaluation of most, if not all, candidates for neurostimulation and intrathecal drug delivery.