People with chronic musculoskeletal pain often experience pain-related fear of movement and avoidance behavior. The Fear-Avoidance model proposes a possible mechanism at least partly explaining the development and maintenance of chronic pain. People who interpret pain during movement as being potentially harmful to the organism may initiate a vicious behavioral cycle by generating pain-related fear of movement accompanied by avoidance behavior and hyper-vigilance.This study investigates whether an individually adapted multifactorial approach comprised of biopsychosocial elements, with a focus on physical exercise, mindfulness, and education on pain and behavior, can decrease work-related fear-avoidance beliefs.As part of a large scale 10-week worksite randomized controlled intervention trial focusing on company initiatives to combat work-related musculoskeletal pain and stress, we evaluated fear-avoidance behavior in 112 female laboratory technicians with chronic neck, shoulder, upper back, lower back, elbow, and hand/wrist pain using the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire at baseline, before group allocation, and again at the post intervention follow-up 10 weeks later.A significant group by time interaction was observed (P < 0.05) for work-related fear-avoidance beliefs. The between-group difference at follow-up was -2.2 (-4.0 to -0.5), corresponding to a small to medium effect size (Cohen's d = 0.30).Our study shows that work-related, but not leisure time activity-related, fear-avoidance beliefs, as assessed by the Fear-avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, can be significantly reduced by 10 weeks of physical-cognitive-mindfulness training in female laboratory technicians with chronic pain.
- Journal Article