This is a biggie! It can make you more anxious and depressed - it can make your pain worse - and it can make it more likely to become persistent after your operation!
So what is it - why do we get it - and what to do about it?
WHAT IS IT?
"An exaggerated mental set brought to during actual or anticipated painful experience." In other words, we can magnify how bad something might be, we can think about it a lot (ruminate) and we can feel helpless to do anything about it.
WHY DO WE GET IT?
If we think about how we've evolved, the world hasn't always been as civilised and predictable as it is now. If your ancestor was the hunter-gatherer who tended to think "what's that rustling in the bush? IT MIGHT BE A TIGER!!!" He or she might be more likely to survive when there actually was a tiger. Those who were less cautious might have been eaten and so not have any offspring. So through the process of evolution, brains that are ready to look for danger, have been selected for. In other words, it's a natural thing that our brains do for us.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
First of all you can check your catastrophizing score - you can download a calculator here.
While we believe that the advice on this website is accurate and based on expert medical opinion you should always consult your healthcare professional on any matter related to your health and well being. He or she knows your circumstances best and therefore the appropriate action to take on your behalf.