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Returning to Work After Breast Cancer Surgery: A Randomised Controlled Trial on the Effect of Pain Neuroscience Education

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of pain neuroscience education compared to biomedical pain education after breast cancer surgery on (1) work status, (2) time until work resumption, and (3) change in return-to-work expectations up to 18 months post-surgery. METHODS: Participants were randomly assigned to either pain neuroscience education (intervention group) or biomedical pain education (control group) in addition to a standard physical therapy program after surgery for breast cancer. The first four months following surgery, one to two physiotherapy sessions and three educational sessions were scheduled. After, two educational sessions and two physiotherapy sessions were held at six and eight months postoperatively. All outcomes were assessed at four, six, eight, 12 and 18 months postoperatively. RESULTS: At 12 months, in the intervention group, 71% of the women returned to work compared to 53% in the control group (18% points difference, 95%CI:-0.1 to 35;p = 0.07). At 18 months, the differences decreased to 9% points, 95%CI:-26 to 7;p = 0.35). Neither time until work resumption (p = 0.46) nor change in estimation of own ability to return to work up to 18 months postoperatively (p = 0.21) significantly differed between both groups. CONCLUSION: No significant differences were found regarding return to work outcomes between women receiving pain neuroscience education versus biomedical pain education after breast cancer surgery. Further research is warranted to explore the potential role of pain neuroscience education in return-to-work interventions following breast cancer surgery.
Journal: Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
ISSN: 1053-0487
Issue: 4
Volume: 33
Pages: 757 - 765
Publication year:2023