There are mixed findings regarding the relationships between pain-related anxiety and performance on the Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). No studies have evaluated the relationship between pain-related anxiety assessed via the Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale (PASS-20) with FCE performance. This exploratory study investigated the relationships among pain-related anxiety and performance in an interdisciplinary pain program. Thirty-six chronic pain patients (mean age = 43 and mean pain duration = 33.17 months) with active worker’s compensation claims were included in the study. Outcome measures included the FCE and grip strength and patient’s perceptions of their disability (Pain Disability Index- PDI). Paired-samples t-tests were used to evaluate the impact of the pain program on pain-related anxiety, perceived disability, and grip strength. The results showed statistically significant reductions in PASS scores [all P’s < .05] and perceived disability [P < 0.001]. Although grip strength increased for both hands, these increases were not statistically significant [P’s = 0.169, 0.298]. The primary goal of the study was to investigate if initial pain-related anxiety would correlate with physical performance in the pain program. Pearson correlations assessed the relationships between initial PASS score and changes in grip strength and PDI totals, and the FCE strength level. The correlations were not statistically significant [all P’s > .05]. The final goal was to observe if reductions in pain-related anxiety would be associated with improvements in grip strength, perceived disability and performance on the FCE. Reductions in pain-related anxiety were not significantly associated with improvements in grip strength or FCE strength level [P > 0.05]; however, reductions in pain-related anxiety did correlate significantly with reductions in perceived disability [P’s < .05]. Thus, the initial level of pain-related anxiety was less predictive than was the patients’ reductions in their anxiety, via the effect of the pain program, on subsequent perceptions of disability.
© 2017 Published by Elsevier Inc.