Van der Gucht E, Dams L, Haenen V, et al. Effectiveness of perioperative pain science education on pain, psychological factors and physical functioning: A systematic review. Clin Rehabil. 2021 Apr 4:2692155211006865. doi: 10.1177/02692155211006865. (Systematic review)

OBJECTIVE: To synthesize the evidence on the effectiveness of pain science education on pain, psychological factors and physical functioning in adults who underwent surgery.

DATA SOURCES: A systematic literature search of English articles using PubMed/Medline, Embase, Web of Science Core Collection, and Cochrane Library.

REVIEW METHODS: The search strategy was constructed as follows: (((pain) AND (education)) OR (pain education)) AND (surgery). Only controlled quantitative studies in adults reporting outcome(s) on pain, psychological factors and/or physical functioning were included. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tools. P-values and corresponding effect sizes for interaction-effect (time × group) portrayed the difference in change over time between groups were of interest. The last search was conducted on February 28, 2021.

RESULTS: Nine papers (n = 1078) were deemed eligible for this review. Two randomized controlled trials showed significant interaction effects. Breast cancer patients who had received one preoperative pain science education session showed a significant increase in postoperative pain compared to controls (P-value = 0.0394). Furthermore, psychological factors (pain catastrophizing and kinesiophobia) decreased in participants who had received pain science education before total knee arthroplasty, while this was not the case in the control group (P-value < 0.001, ?2p:0.11).

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, pain science education did not result in any significant postoperative effects on pain, psychological factors and/or physical functioning compared to controls. There is currently no strong evidence for the implementation of pain science education in the perioperative period.Registration number: PROSPERO: ID 161267, registration number CRD42020161267.

Discipline Area Score
Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) 6 / 7
Physician 5 / 7
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Comments from MORE raters

Physician rater

Most of the information reported is probably known in my specialty.

Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) rater

As a physiotherapists treating persistent pain and Fibromyalgia, I find pain education is invaluable. However for pre-op, it does not seem to be that valuable. Good to know!
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