Because of the pain and opioid epidemic in the United States, there is a need to update clinician’s knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding persistent pain across health care disciplines. The aim of this study was to determine if health care professionals can positively change their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding chronic pain, following a pain neuroscience education (PNE) lecture and 1 year follow-up.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 270 health care providers at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System received a 3.5-hour PNE lecture in person or via live-stream. Primary outcomes were the Neurophysiology of Pain Questionnaire (NPQ) and Health Care Providers’ Pain and Impairment Relationship Scale (HC-PAIRS) measured before, immediately after, and 1 year after the PNE lecture. At 1 year participants were also asked how the PNE lecture affected their practice.
Pain knowledge (NPQ) (P<0.01) and attitudes and beliefs regarding persistent pain (HC-PAIRS) (P<0.01) improved for all providers, with specific improvements across several disciplines. Positive gains in outcomes were equal for in-person attendance, and live-streaming of the lecture. One year later, NPQ and HC-PAIRS gains diminished, yet clinicians reported a large positive impact on daily clinical practice.
PNE resulted in a positive clinical impact for health care providers treating patients with persistent pain. The mechanism of this effect may be about healthier attitudes and beliefs regarding persistent pain rather than increased knowledge about pain.