To systematically locate, critically appraise, and synthesize the available evidence regarding the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapies (CBTs) and psychoeducation that can be implemented by rehabilitation specialists to treat fear-avoidance beliefs in patients with acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain (LBP).
Electronic databases (CINAHL, PubMed, Psychology and Behavior Sciences Collection, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO) were searched from inception to September 2017.
Assessment of methodological quality was completed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale. The Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy was used to evaluate the quality of evidence.
Study sample, subject demographics, CBT and/or psychoeducation intervention details, data collection time points, outcome assessments, statistical analysis, results, and conclusions were extracted from each study. In addition, effect sizes were calculated.
Five high-quality studies (PEDro ≥6) were included. All included studies evaluated fear-avoidance beliefs. CBTs and psychoeducation strategies designed to target patient-specific fears demonstrated clinically meaningful results, while psychoeducation methodologies were not as effective.
There is inconsistent, patient-oriented evidence (grade B) to support the use of CBTs and/or psychoeducation strategies by rehabilitation specialists to treat fear-avoidance beliefs. Patient-centered and personalized CBTs were most effective to treat these psychosocial factors in patients with LBP when compared with a control treatment.
List of abbreviations:CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), CFT (cognitive functional therapy), FABQ (Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire), FABQ-PA (Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire–Physical Activity Subscale), FABQ-W (Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire–Work Subscale), HSCL (Hopkins Symptom Checklist), LBP (low back pain), ODI (Oswestry Disability Index), PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database), PINRS (Pain Intensity Numerical Rating Scale)
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Published online: December 13, 2017
© 2017 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine