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Clin Rehabil. 2007 Sep;21(9):812-21.

The role of fear-avoidance beliefs in patients with neck pain: relationships with current and future disability and work capacity.

Author information

1
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the relationship between fear-avoidance beliefs and future disability and work capacity in patients with neck pain.

DESIGN:

A prospective observational study.

SETTING:

Physiotherapy outpatient departments.

PATIENTS:

One hundred and twenty patients with neck pain intensity sufficient to affect their work capacity.

INTERVENTIONS:

Patients participated in either six-week conventional physiotherapy or an exercise training programme to test whether the type of treatment received by the patients together with other outcome measures affected the predictive power of fear-avoidance beliefs.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Patients underwent examination of the active neck range of movements and neck muscle strength and completed the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, the Northwick Park Neck Pain Questionnaire, the Medical Outcomes 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey and the 11-point pain numerical rating scale. These were assessed at the beginning and at week 6 of the rehabilitation programme. Patients' work capacity was assessed at week 6 and three months after the six-week rehabilitation programme.

RESULTS:

Spearman's correlation coefficients between fear-avoidance beliefs and initial and week 6 disability levels were 0.47 and 0.48, respectively. Regression analysis showed that the fear-avoidance beliefs significantly improved the goodness of fit of the model for predicting week 6 disability levels and return to complete work capacity at week 6 and three months after the rehabilitation programme, even after controlling for the physical impairments, the health status, the pain intensity and the type of treatment received.

CONCLUSIONS:

The fear-avoidance beliefs factor is an important biopsychosocial variable in predicting future disability level and return to complete work capacity in patients with neck pain.

PMID:
17875561
DOI:
10.1177/0269215507077800
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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