Article Text

Role of kinesiophobia on pain, disability and quality of life in people suffering from chronic musculoskeletal pain: a systematic review
  1. Alejandro Luque-Suarez1,
  2. Javier Martinez-Calderon2,
  3. Deborah Falla3
  1. 1Departamento de Fisioterapia, Universidad de Malaga, Malaga, Spain
  2. 2Department of Physiotherapy, University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain
  3. 3Centre of Precision Rehabilitation for Spinal Pain (CPR Spine), School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alejandro Luque-Suarez, Departamento de Fisioterapia, Universidad de Malaga, 29071, Spain; aluques{at}


Objective (1) To explore the level of association between kinesiophobia and pain, disability and quality of life in people with chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) detected via cross-sectional analysis and (2) to analyse the prognostic value of kinesiophobia on pain, disability and quality of life in this population detected via longitudinal analyses.

Design A systematic review of the literature including an appraisal of the risk of bias using the adapted Newcastle Ottawa Scale. A synthesis of the evidence was carried out.

Data sources An electronic search of PubMed, AMED, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PubPsych and grey literature was undertaken from inception to July 2017.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Observational studies exploring the role of kinesiophobia (measured with the Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia) on pain, disability and quality of life in people with CMP.

Results Sixty-three articles (mostly cross-sectional) (total sample=10 726) were included. We found strong evidence for an association between a greater degree of kinesiophobia and greater levels of pain intensity and disability and moderate evidence between a greater degree of kinesiophobia and higher levels of pain severity and low quality of life. A greater degree of kinesiophobia predicts the progression of disability overtime, with moderate evidence. A greater degree of kinesiophobia also predicts greater levels of pain severity and low levels of quality of life at 6 months, but with limited evidence. Kinesiophobia does not predict changes in pain intensity.

Summary/conclusions The results of this review encourage clinicians to consider kinesiophobia in their preliminary assessment. More longitudinal studies are needed, as most of the included studies were cross-sectional in nature.

Trial registration number CRD42016042641.

  • musculoskeletal pain
  • chronic pain
  • fear
  • systematic review

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  • Funding JM-C, PhD student at University of Malaga, is supported by the University of Malaga through a predoctoral grant.

  • Disclaimer All authors have made a substantial scientific contribution to the study and they are thoroughly familiar with the primary data. All authors have read the complete manuscript and take responsibility for the content and completeness of the manuscript and understand that if the paper, or part of the paper, is found to be faulty or fraudulent, all authors share responsibility.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data can be obtained from the corresponding author.

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