Catastrophizing and Health-Related Quality of Life: A 6-Year Follow-up of Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain

Authors

  • Ragnhild Raak PhD MS RN,

    Registered Nurse and Doctoral Student, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine and Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden
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  • Karin Wikblad PhD RN,

    Registered Nurse and Associate Professor
    1. Department of Medicine and Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden
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  • Anders Raak Sr. MD,

    Senior Medical Officer
    1. Health Department at SAAB Aerospace in Linköping
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  • Marianne Carlsson PhD,

    Psychologist and Associated Professor
    1. Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section for Caring Sciences, Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden.
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  • Lis Karin Wahren PhD BMS

    Biomedical Laboratory Technologist and Associate Professor
    1. Department of Medicine and Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden
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Department of Medicine and Care, Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden, e-mail: ragnhild.raak@imv.liu.se

Abstract

A pain rehabilitation model that focused on emotions was implemented to influence catastrophizing by, and health-related quality of life (HRQL) for, persons with chronic low back pain. Twelve individuals, 7 men and 5 women (aged 33 to 57 years), all with long-term pain despite treatment, were included in the study and a single case research experimental design (SCRED) was used to follow the patterns of coping with pain for 6 years. The HRQL was measured before and 6 years after the intervention. Coping strategies and HRQL were evaluated with the Coping Strategy Questionnaire (CSQ) and the SF-36, respectively. The evaluation of pain coping strategies after 3 years found decreased catastrophizing, a decrease that had continued 3 years later. HRQL showed significantly improved mental health and impaired physical capacity at the 6-year follow-up. Changes in catastrophizing or in HRQL did not appear to influence self-scored bodily pain. Altered catastrophizing appeared to be a long-term process. This research indicates the need for rehabilitation programs to assess and evaluate patients' pain and their need for improved quality of life, rather than focusing only on the elimination of pain.

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