Perspectives of Participants With Rotator Cuff-Related Pain to a Neuroscience-Informed Pain Education Session: An Exploratory Mixed Method Study

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Purpose: To explore perceptions and initial outcomes of patients with rotator cuff-related pain to a pain education session. Materials and Methods: Ten individuals with persistent rotator cuff-related pain (≥3 months duration) attended an individual pain education session. They completed patient-reported outcomes measures on a weekly basis, three weeks prior and three weeks following the session. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted three weeks following the pain education. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using the General Inductive Approach. Results: There were two over-arching key themes: firstly, ‘Participants’ Perspectives’ of the session generated four themes: Improved understanding of ‘the whole’; Mindful self-awareness; Taking charge; “The pain is still there”. Their understanding of pain was reconceptualised, evident by their ability to describe the role of neurophysiological mechanisms, stress and general well-being towards their pain. The second over-arching key theme, ‘Participants’ Recommendations’, had two themes: Integrating neuroscience with pathoanatomical knowledge and Educating other health professionals. Pain levels decreased post-pain education compared to pre-pain education. Conclusions: Following the pain education session, participants had greater understanding of factors influencing their shoulder pain. Pain education, in addition to pathoanatomical information may be useful as part of treatment for persistent rotator cuff-related pain.