Activity-related pain in patients with chronic musculoskeletal disorders

Disabil Rehabil. 2010;32(17):1428-37. doi: 10.3109/09638280903567877.


Purpose: Activity-related pain may be a barrier to rehabilitation in patients with chronic musculoskeletal disorders. This study investigated patients' reports of increased pain during activity, and the association between such pain and psychological factors and pain variables.

Method: Questionnaires from 232 adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain measured pain intensity, spread of pain and pain duration. Pain during activity was assessed both on a 11-point Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), and operationalised as a dichotomous measure, where responders defined if they experienced pain during general activity and exercise. Psychological factors were measured by the Hopkins symptom check list 25, the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia and a subscale of the Arthritis Self-efficacy Scale. Multiple and logistic regression were used to analyse associations between increased pain during activity and associated variables.

Results: Increased pain during activity was reported by 69% of participants. Fear of movement was a significant factor for reporting increased pain during activity, both general activity and exercise also in a subsample with low psychological distress. Other significant factors were spread of pain and a low sense of self-efficacy.

Conclusion: Patients with high fear of movement, large spread of pain and low self-efficacy were more likely to report increased pain during activity even in the absence of psychological distress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Movement / physiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Self Efficacy
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires