Effectiveness of pain neuroscience education

EduCan Trial

Effectiveness of pain neuroscience education on pain related disability after breast cancer surgery: randomized controlled trial

Over the past decades, awareness on the importance of educational interventions in cancer pain management has increased. However, education is often restricted to biomedical pain management instructions. A more modern educational approach, also known as pain neuroscience education (PNE), explains pain from a biopsychosocial perspective. We hypothesize that this more comprehensive educational approach in the early treatment phase of breast cancer will lead to more beneficial effects for cancer pain management. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to investigate the effectiveness of this PNE intervention, in addition to best evidence physical therapy modalities for treatment and prevention of pain, physical, emotional and work-related functioning after breast cancer surgery, compared with a traditional biomedical educational intervention. A double-blinded randomised controlled trial has been started in November 2017 at the University Hospitals of Leuven. Immediately after breast cancer surgery, all participants (n=184) receive a 12-week intensive standard physical therapy programme. They receive three additional refresher sessions at 6, 8 and 12 months postsurgery. In addition, participants receive three educational sessions during the first-month postsurgery and three 'booster sessions' at 6, 8 and 12 months postsurgery. In the intervention group, the content of the education sessions is based on the modern PNE approach. Whereas in the control group, the education is based on the traditional biomedical approach. The primary outcome parameter is pain-related disability 1 year after surgery. Secondary outcomes related to other dimensions of pain, physical, emotional and work-related functioning at 1-week, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 18 months post-surgery.

> CarEdOn primary researchers: Prof. Nele Devoogdt, Prof. An De Groef, Prof. Mira Meeus

> Research partners: Dra. Elien Van der Gucht, Dra. Lore Dams, Koen BernarProf. Smeets Ann, Multidisciplinary Breast Center, University Hospital Leuven (Belgium); Prof. Lode Godderis, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven (Belgium); Prof. Bart Morlion, Leuven Algology Center, UZ Leuven (Belgium)

> Funding: Research Foundation Flanders – Applied Biomedical Research (T005117N)

> Keywords: breast cancer, exercise therapy, educational interventions, activity management, pain, upper limb function, sensory function, physical activity, quantitative sensory testing, accelerometry

> Contact: an.degroef@kuleuven.be


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