Article: Physiotherapy Works Better When You Believe it Will Help You [The Conversation]

“What surprised us was that patients who had said they expected to “completely recover” as a result of physiotherapy did even better than patients who expected to “much improve”.

“The most important predictor of outcome was the person’s pain and disability at the first appointment. Higher levels of pain and disability were associated with higher levels six months later. And lower baseline levels were associated lower levels six months later. But this relationship often changed for people who had high “pain self-efficacy”, that is, confidence in the ability to carry on doing most things, despite having shoulder pain.

“Another surprise finding was that people with high baseline pain and disability, but with high levels of pain self-efficacy did as well as, and sometimes better than, people with low baseline pain and disability and low pain self-efficacy.

“This is the first study to investigate patient expectations of the outcome of physiotherapy for shoulder pain. Earlier research shows that high patient expectation of recovery predicts a better outcome following physiotherapy for back pain and neck pain, and a better outcome following orthopaedic surgery.

“On a similar note, this is the first study to show that higher pain self-efficacy predicts a better outcome in non-surgically managed shoulder pain. Previous research has shown that self-efficacy predicts a better outcome for a range of other health conditions. Also, people with higher self-efficacy are more likely to do the home-exercise programme  suggested by their physiotherapist.”

Read Rachel Chester’s full article at The Conversation: Physiotherapy Works Better When You Believe it Will Help You

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