Objective: (1) To explore the level of association between kinesiophobia and pain, disability and quality of life in people with chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) detected via cross-sectional analysis and (2) to analyse the prognostic value of kinesiophobia on pain, disability and quality of life in this population detected via longitudinal analyses.
Design: A systematic review of the literature including an appraisal of the risk of bias using the adapted Newcastle Ottawa Scale. A synthesis of the evidence was carried out.
Data sources: An electronic search of PubMed, AMED, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PubPsych and grey literature was undertaken from inception to July 2017.
Eligibility criteria for selecting studies: Observational studies exploring the role of kinesiophobia (measured with the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia) on pain, disability and quality of life in people with CMP.
Results: Sixty-three articles (mostly cross-sectional) (total sample=10 726) were included. We found strong evidence for an association between a greater degree of kinesiophobia and greater levels of pain intensity and disability and moderate evidence between a greater degree of kinesiophobia and higher levels of pain severity and low quality of life. A greater degree of kinesiophobia predicts the progression of disability overtime, with moderate evidence. A greater degree of kinesiophobia also predicts greater levels of pain severity and low levels of quality of life at 6 months, but with limited evidence. Kinesiophobia does not predict changes in pain intensity.
Summary/conclusions: The results of this review encourage clinicians to consider kinesiophobia in their preliminary assessment. More longitudinal studies are needed, as most of the included studies were cross-sectional in nature.
Trial registration number: CRD42016042641.
Keywords: chronic pain; fear; musculoskeletal pain; systematic review.
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