Evaluation of chronic pain and physical activity training on providers' pain knowledge and self-efficacy


Background. Twenty percent of Canadian adults experience chronic pain. Physical activity (PA) is an effective management strategy, yet most adults with chronic pain struggle to participate. In pilot work, we found that adults with chronic pain preferred receiving integrated information on PA and chronic pain from PA providers, including fitness instructors and personal trainers. However, PA providers do not receive integrated training (instruction on pain, PA, adherence-promoting self-regulatory skills) during certification or continuing education opportunities. This feasibility study aimed to evaluate whether a face-to-face integrated training session for PA providers increased their pain knowledge and self-efficacy to educate and instruct adults with chronic pain on being physically active. Methods. Forty-eight PA providers (Mage = 44.38 ± 11.03 years) attended 1 of 4, 3-hour training sessions offered in three communities. Pre- and post-training surveys assessed pain knowledge, self-efficacy, and demographics. A mixed multivariate analysis of variance compared pre- vs post-training scores by training location. Results. The within-subjects effect was significant (p < .001). Follow-up univariate comparisons revealed PA providers' pain knowledge and self-efficacy significantly improved (p's < .001). The between-subjects effect was non-significant (p > .05). Conclusion. Promising feasibility findings warrant future pilot RCT investigation to evaluate the impact of the integrated training among a larger, more representative sample of PA providers. If successful, there is potential for widespread adoption in collaboration with PA provider certification organizations.

Acknowledgments: The research was funded by a Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, Collaborative Innovation Development Grant (SHRF 3969), and a Community Initiatives Fund, Community Programs Grant (CIF:16:971). The researchers extend a sincere 'thank you' to the participants who made this research possible.