Importance of Psychological Factors for the Recovery From a First Episode of Acute Non-specific Neck Pain
Importance of Psychological Factors for the Recovery From a First Episode of Acute Non-specific Neck Pain –
A Longitudinal Observational Study
SOURCE: Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2016 (Mar 16); 24: 9
Brigitte Wirth, B. Kim Humphreys and Cynthia Peterson
Chiropractic Medicine Department,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Zurich and University Hospital Balgrist
|It has been established that psychological factors (appear to play) an important role in chronic non-specific neck pain. Particularly anxiety, depression and catastrophizing appear to negatively affect pain intensity and disability in this patient group. 
To test whether these emotional elements are the natural side-effect of chronic pain as opposed to being causal, these researchers worked with 850 patients with acute non-specific neck pain with no history of previous neck or arm pain.
The results were quite fascinating:
Thus, patients with acute non-specific neck pain might benefit from adequate information and communication that targets at reducing anxiety by encouraging self-management of the problem.
Background The influence of psychological factors on acute neck pain is sparsely studied. In a secondary analysis of prospectively collected data, this study investigated how several psychological factors develop in the first three months of acute neck pain and how these factors influence self-perceived recovery.
Methods Patients were recruited in various chiropractic practices throughout Switzerland between 2010 and 2014. The follow-up telephone interviews were conducted for all patients by research assistants in the coordinating university hospital following a standardized procedure. The population of this study consisted of 103 patients (68 female; mean age = 38.3 ± 13.8 years) with a first episode of acute (<4 weeks) neck pain. Prior to the first treatment, the patients filled in the Bournemouth Questionnaire (BQ). One week and 1 and 3 months later, they completed the BQ again along with the Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC). The temporal development (repeated measure ANOVA) of the BQ questions 4 (anxiety), 5 (depression), 6 (fear-avoidance) and 7 (pain locus of control) as well as the influence of these scores on the PGIC were investigated (binary logistic regression analyses, receiver operating curves (ROC)).
Results All psychological parameters showed significant reduction within the first month. The parameter ‘anxiety’ was associated with outcome at 1 and 3 months (p = 0.013, R2 = 0.40 and p = 0.039, R2 = 0.63, respectively). Baseline depression (p = 0.037, R2 = 0.21), but not baseline anxiety, was a predictor for poor outcome. A high reduction in anxiety within the first month was a significant predictor for favorable outcome after 1 month (p < 0.001; R2 = 0.57).