Beliefs about the body and pain: the critical role in musculoskeletal pain management.
AuthorCaneiro, JP; Bunzli, S; O'Sullivan, P
Source TitleRevista Brasileira de Fisioterapia
University of Melbourne Author/sBunzli, Samantha
AffiliationSurgery (St Vincent's)
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsCaneiro, J. P., Bunzli, S. & O'Sullivan, P. (2021). Beliefs about the body and pain: the critical role in musculoskeletal pain management.. Braz J Phys Ther, 25 (1), pp.17-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjpt.2020.06.003.
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLhttp://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjpt.2020.06.003
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7817871
BACKGROUND: Beliefs about the body and pain play a powerful role in behavioural and emotional responses to musculoskeletal pain. What a person believes and how they respond to their musculoskeletal pain can influence how disabled they will be by pain. Importantly, beliefs are modifiable and are therefore considered an important target for the treatment of pain-related disability. Clinical guidelines recommend addressing unhelpful beliefs as the first line of treatment in all patients presenting with musculoskeletal pain. However, many clinicians hold unhelpful beliefs themselves; while others feel ill-equipped to explore and target the beliefs driving unhelpful responses to pain. As a result, clinicians may reinforce unhelpful beliefs, behaviours and resultant disability among the patients they treat. METHODS: To assist clinicians, in Part 1 of this paper we discuss what beliefs are; how they are formed; the impact they can have on a person's behaviour, emotional responses and outcomes of musculoskeletal pain. In Part 2, we discuss how we can address beliefs in clinical practice. A clinical case is used to illustrate the critical role that beliefs can have on a person's journey from pain and disability to recovery. CONCLUSIONS: We encourage clinicians to exercise self-reflection to explore their own beliefs and better understand their biases, which may influence their management of patients with musculoskeletal pain. We suggest actions that may benefit their practice, and we propose key principles to guide a process of behavioural change.
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