Patients with chronic spinal pain benefit from pain neuroscience education regardless the self-reported signs of central sensitization : secondary analysis of a randomized controlled multicenter trial
Background Pain neuroscience education is effective in chronic pain management. Central sensitization (ie, generalized hypersensitivity) is often explained as the underlying mechanism for chronic pain, because of its clinical relevance and influence on pain severity, prognosis, and treatment outcome. Objectives To examine whether patients with more or fewer symptoms of central sensitization respond differently to pain neuroscience education. Design A secondary analysis of a multicenter, triple-blind randomized controlled trial. Setting University Hospital Ghent and University Hospital Brussels, Belgium. Patients 120 persons with chronic spinal pain with high or low self-reported symptoms of central sensitization. Interventions Pain neuroscience education or neck/back school. Both interventions were delivered in 3 sessions: 1 group session, 1 online session, and 1 individual session. Main Outcome Measures disability (primary), pain catastrophizing, kinesiophobia, illness perceptions, and hypervigilance. Results Pain disability did not change in any group (P = .242). Regarding secondary outcomes: significant interaction effects were found for pain catastrophizing (P-values: P = .02 to P = .05), kinesiophobia (P = .02), and several aspects of illness perceptions (chronicity: P = .002; negative consequences: P = .02; personal control: P = .02; and cyclicity: P = .02). Bonferroni post hoc analysis showed that only the pain neuroscience education group (high and low self-reported symptoms of central sensitization) showed a significant improvement regarding kinesiophobia (P < .001, medium effect sizes), perceived negative consequence (P = .004 and P < .001, small to medium effect sizes), and perceived cyclicity of the illness (P = .01 and P = .01, small effect sizes). Pain catastrophizing only significantly reduced in people with high self-reported central sensitization symptoms (P < .05). Conclusion Pain neuroscience education is useful in all patients with chronic spinal pain as it improves kinesiophobia and the perceived negative consequences and cyclicity of the illness regardless the self-reported signs of central sensitization. Regarding pain catastrophizing, pain neuroscience education is more effective in patients with high self-reported symptoms of central sensitization.
Source (journal)
PM&R : the journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation / American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. - New York, N.Y., 2009, currens
New York, N.Y. : Elsevier , 2018
1934-1482 [print]
1934-1563 [online]
10 :12 (2018) , p. 1330-+
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Creation 07.01.2019
Last edited 09.10.2023
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