Physical activity, self-efficacy and quality of life in patients with chronic pain, assessed during and 1 year after physiotherapy rehabilitation - a prospective follow-up study

Disabil Rehabil. 2022 Nov;44(22):6730-6737. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2021.1971305. Epub 2021 Sep 10.


Purpose: The aim of this prospective cohort study was to evaluate the level of physical activity, self-efficacy and health-related quality of life in patients with chronic pain, at baseline and one year after physiotherapy rehabilitation at a specialist pain clinic.

Materials and methods: All patients who underwent rehabilitation at the physiotherapy unit at the Pain Centre at Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Östra in Gothenburg during a nine-month period were asked to participate in the study. The participants were evaluated regarding self-efficacy, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and physical activity during physiotherapy treatment and one year later. Physical activity was measured both subjectively (self-reported physical activity) and objectively (accelerometer).

Results: Out of 42 patients who participated in the baseline evaluation, 28 (19 women and nine men) were included in the one-year follow-up. The patients had increased levels of vigorous physical activity at one-year follow-up, without deterioration of pain. There were no significant changes regarding self-efficacy and HRQoL. Levels of physical activity and perceived physical function may be associated to levels of physical activity 1 year after rehabilitation.

Conclusion: Patients with chronic pain can increase their level of vigorous physical activity after a period of rehabilitation without deterioration of pain.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILIATIONPhysical activity is an important part of rehabilitation for chronic pain patients, but many patients expect more pain after exercise, which they fear may affect performance and maintenance of physical activity.Patients with chronic pain at a specialist clinic increased their level of vigorous physical activity one year after physiotherapist led rehabilitation without deterioration of pain.Levels of physical activity and perceived physical function during rehabilitation may predict levels of physical activity 1 year after rehabilitation.Physiotherapist led rehabilitation seems to be beneficial for long-term improved physical activity in patients with chronic pain.

Keywords: Chronic pain; health-related quality of life; physical activity; physiotherapy; self-efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain* / rehabilitation
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Efficacy