OBJECTIVE: To investigate the appreciation of written education about pain neurophysiology in patients with fibromyalgia (FM) and its effects on illness perceptions and perceived health status.
METHODS: A booklet explaining pain neurophysiology was sent to participants with FM. Appreciation was assessed with 10 questions addressing relevance (0-30) and reassurance (0-30). Illness perceptions, catastrophizing and health status were measured with the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ-R), the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) at baseline (T0), after a 2-week control period (T1) and 6 weeks after the intervention (T2).
RESULTS: Forty-one patients participated. Mean (SD) scores for relevance and reassurance were 21.6 (5.6) and 18.7 (5.7), respectively. Only illness coherence, emotional representations, pain and fatigue changed significantly between T0 and T2. Correlations between appreciation and changes in outcomes ranged between r=0.00 and r=0.34.
CONCLUSIONS: Although a majority of subjects appreciated the written information, it did not have clinically relevant effects on illness perceptions, catastrophizing or impact of FM on daily life.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Written education about pain neurophysiology is inadequate toward changing illness perceptions, catastrophizing or perceived health status of participants with FM; education should be incorporated into a broader multidisciplinary self-management program.