Chronic pain is a significant public health concern that imposes substantial burdens on individuals and healthcare systems, and factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of pain-related disability are of increasing empirical and clinical interest. Consistent with the fear-avoidance model of chronic pain, greater pain-related fear has consistently been associated with more severe disability and may predict the progression of disability over time. Recent evidence indicates that treatments designed to reduce pain-related fear are efficacious for improving disability outcomes, and several clinical trials are currently underway to test tailored intervention content and methods of dissemination. Future research in this area is needed to identify factors (e.g., substance use, comorbid psychopathology) that may influence interrelations between pain-related fear, response to treatment, and disability.
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