To clarify the importance of avoidance, pacing, and overdoing pain-related activity management patterns as predictors of adjustment in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome.
A total of 119 tertiary care patients with fibromyalgia syndrome who agreed to be part of an activity management pain program completed a survey, which requested information about demographics, pain intensity and pain interference, psychological and physical function, and pain-related activity management patterns. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to identify the unique contributions of the 3 different pain-related activity management patterns (avoidance, pacing, and overdoing) to the prediction of pain interference, psychological function, and physical function.
The avoidance pattern was a significant and unique predictor of worse psychological and physical function as well as greater pain interference. Pacing was significantly associated with less pain interference and better psychological function, whereas overdoing was not found to predict patient functioning.
The findings confirm the importance of pain-related activity management patterns as predictors of patient function, and support the necessity of addressing these factors in chronic pain treatment. In addition, the results suggest that targeting increases in activity pacing and decreases in pain avoidance, specifically, might yield the best patient outcomes. However, further research to evaluate this possibility is necessary.