Overactivity in chronic pain: Is it a valid construct?
Overactivity refers to activity that exacerbates pain, often resulting in periods of inactivity and often relies on self-report. The validity has, however, been questioned. This study offers some support for the validity of overactivity based on self-report as a construct.
Overactivity is a term frequently used in relation to chronic pain. It refers to activity that significantly exacerbates pain, which often results in periods of inactivity. Both overactivity and avoidance may manifest at the same time and may both result in an increase in pain and disability. Self-reported outcome measures are commonly used to measure the extent of overactivity and/ or avoidance. The validity of these measures has, however, been questioned.
The present study investigates the validity of overactivity as a construct by assessing self-reported measurements, pain and objectively measured physical activity over time. A total of 68 adults with chronic pain participated in the five-day observational study. Over this period participants wore an activity monitor, recorded the intensity of their pain six times a day and recorded daily activity.
The results indicate that people with higher levels of both overactivity and avoidance show higher levels of pain intensity. In addition, higher levels of overactivity are associated with more variation in pain intensity (i.e. larger difference in pain ratings over five days). No associations were found between overactivity and activity fluctuation or between overactivity or avoidance and objective activity levels. This study offers some support for the validity of overactivity as a construct and warrants further investigation.
> From: Andrews et al., Pain (2015) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to International Association for the Study of Pain.Click here for the Pubmed summary.