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Effect of verbal persuasion on self-efficacy for pain-related diagnostic sensory testing in individuals with chronic neck pain and healthy controls – a randomized, controlled trial

Authors Soderlund A, Sterling M

Received 23 October 2015

Accepted for publication 21 December 2015

Published 7 March 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 115—122


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman

Anne Söderlund,1 Michele Sterling,2
1Physiotherapy, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden; 2Centre for National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine (CONROD), Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Parklands, Australia

Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate the differences in cold pain threshold (CTh), pressure pain threshold (PPT), cold pain tolerance (CPTo) tests, and the level of self-efficacy when self-efficacy for diagnostic sensory testing was manipulated by verbal persuasion before a testing situation in persons with neck pain and in healthy controls. A randomized experimental design was used. Twenty-one healthy volunteers and 22 individuals with either traumatic or nontraumatic chronic neck pain were recruited to participate in the study. The intervention consisted of two experimental verbal persuasion conditions: Increase self-efficacy and Decrease self-efficacy. The PPT was measured using a pressure algometer, the CTh was measured using a thermo test system, and CPTo was measured by submerging the participant's hand in ice water up to the elbow joint. On three occasions, the participants reported their self-efficacy level in performing the sensory tests. In the chronic neck pain group, there were no differences in pain threshold or tolerance. There was a difference in the self-efficacy level after verbal persuasion between the experimental conditions. In the healthy control group, the CThs increased following the condition that aimed to increase self-efficacy. No other differences were observed in the healthy controls. A short verbal persuasion in the form of manipulative instructions seems to have a marginal effect on the individual's self-efficacy levels in the chronic neck pain group and a slight influence on the results of sensory testing in healthy controls.

Keywords: pressure pain threshold, cold pain threshold, cold pain tolerance, self-efficacy, randomized trial

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