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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2014 December;50(6):649-56


language: English

Expectations for treatment outcomes in neck/back patients regarding improvements in pain and function. A cross-sectional pilot study

Skatteboe S. 1, Røe C. 1, Fagerland M. W. 2, Granan L. P. 1

1 Deparment of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; 2 Unit of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway


BACKGROUND: Literature has suggested that patients’ pretreatment expectations may influence both prognosis and outcome. Investigation of these possible benefits requires knowledge about what is actually expected among these patients.
AIM: To investigate neck/back patients’ expectations for treatment outcomes (pain and functional improvement) prior to their first meetings with specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PMR).
DESIGN: Cross-sectional pilot study.
SETTING: PMR Neck/Back Outpatient Clinic, Oslo University Hospital.
POPULATION: Patients with neck/back pain and/or functional problems referred for the first time to a neck/back PMR outpatient clinic.
METHODS: Questionnaires were completed prior to an appointment with a PMR specialist. The forms consisted of one earlier designed instrument (PSOE) and one self-constructed part with six 11-point numeric rating scales (11-NRS). Eligible patients were randomly selected between January and June 2012.
RESULTS: Approximately 42 % expected their status to remain un-changed. A total of 17 % expected exacerbation of their status. No differences were found between expectations regarding pain and function. Full recovery was not expected. Highly educated patients, and those reporting high usage of analgesics, had higher expectations for improvement.
CONCLUSION: Few of the selected patients seemed to expect improvement. These expectations are quite pessimistic, in our opinion. More elaborate studies are needed to confirm these results.

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