Pain neuroscience education for reducing pain and kinesiophobia in patients with chronic neck pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Lin L., Lin T., Chang K., Wu W., ÖZÇAKAR L.

European Journal of Pain (United Kingdom), vol.28, no.2, pp.231-243, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 28 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/ejp.2182
  • Journal Name: European Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.231-243
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Chronic neck pain (CNP) is a common musculoskeletal disorder. Pain neuroscience education (PNE) is a promising nonpharmacological intervention for CNP, however, its effectiveness remains unclear. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of PNE in treating CNP. Methods: Electronic databases from inception to February 2023 were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effects of PNE on CNP. The primary outcome was the change in pain intensity, and the secondary outcome was improvement in kinesiophobia, standardized using Hedges' g. Two authors independently scrutinized eligible articles, extracted data and assessed quality; a random-effects model was employed for data pooling. Results: In total, seven RCTs comprising 479 participants were included and demonstrated that PNE significantly reduced pain intensity (Hedges' g = −0.730, 95% CI = −1.340 to −0.119, p = 0.019, I2 = 89.288%). Subgroup analysis revealed that the adult group experienced significant pain reduction after PNE, whereas the adolescent group did not. PNE also reduced kinesiophobia which was evaluated in four of seven RCTs (Hedges' g = −0.444, 95% CI = −0.735 to −0.154, p = 0.003, I2 = 36.822%). The meta-regression analysis indicated that an increased intervention duration contributed to greater pain reduction. No adverse events were reported following PNE or the control treatment. Conclusions: PNE effectively reduced pain intensity and kinesiophobia in patients with CNP. A longer PNE time leads to greater pain reduction and is more effective in adults than in adolescents. Further studies are required to examine the long-term effects on CNP management. Significance: This is the first meta-analysis evaluating the effectiveness of treating chronic neck pain with pain neuroscience education. Pain neuroscience education is successful in reducing pain and decreasing kinesiophobia in the chronic neck pain population. Longer treatment time leads to greater pain reduction.