Fear does matter!

R.J.E.M. Smeets, M. den Hollander, J.R. de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


ObjectiveTo investigate whether pain-related fears are mediators for reducing disability and pain in patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type 1 when treating with Pain Exposure Physical Therapy.DesignAn explorative secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial.ParticipantsFifty-six patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type 1.InterventionsThe experimental group received Pain Exposure Physical Therapy in a maximum of five treatment sessions; the control group received conventional treatment following the Dutch multidisciplinary guideline.Outcome measuresLevels of disability, pain, and pain-related fears (fear-avoidance beliefs, pain catastrophizing, and kinesiophobia) were measured at baseline and after 3, 6, and 9 months follow-up.ResultsThe experimental group had a significantly larger decrease in disability of 7.77 points (95% CI 1.09 to 14.45) and in pain of 1.83 points (95% CI 0.44 to 3.23) over nine months than the control group. The potential mediators pain-related fears decreased significantly in both groups, but there were no significant differences between groups, which indicated that there was no mediation.ConclusionThe reduction of pain-related fears was comparable in both groups. We found no indication that pain-related fears mediate the larger reduction of disability and pain in patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type 1 treated with Pain Exposure Physical Therapy compared to conventional treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0123008
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2015

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