One important question: "What do you expect?"

An individual’s recovery expectations following an injury are a strong predictor of health outcomes. To date, thousands of scientific articles have proven just how much of an impact recovery expectations have on the rehabilitation process following an injury. Many extensive and rigorous questionnaires have been designed to evaluate these expectations; however, clinicians and researchers do not use them. Time constraints and an over-burdened health care system make these assessment tools difficult to implement, to the point of being basically unusable. In 2022, our research team was able to identify a single question that would replace all these assessments. Out with long, complex questionnaires; recovery expectations can now be assessed in a few seconds thanks to this one question. This discovery has the potential to transform the rehabilitation process, as this simple question makes it possible to identify those who are at twice the risk of prolonged sick leave. Going forward, the following question has the potential to optimize the rehabilitation process and therefore reduce the development of long-term disability following injury: “What is the likelihood that you will return to work?”

To read the scientific article click here

How we communicate our pain when we think it's unfair matters

Is chronic pain fair? Does anyone deserve it? Research shows that when a person feels as though their pain is unfair they tend not do recover as well from their injury. Perceived injustice, the “Why me?” pattern of thought, can lead to a cascade of negative outcomes, including more pain, disability and medication use, including strong opioid analgesics. Our team sought to understand why people who perceive their pain as unfair are more likely to have prescriptions for opioid analgesics. As it turns out, the more people perceive their pain as unfair, the more likely they are to engage in pain behaviors. Pain behaviors are a form of communication to express suffering through actions such as rubbing, limping, grimacing, etc. As a result, physicians may perceive more suffering and in turn, prescribe opioid analgesics. Given the opioid crisis and dangers associated with opioid prescription, it is critical for physicians to be aware of behaviors before considering prescribing opioids for chronic pain.