Background: The aim of this study was to investigate to what extent psychological factors are related to pain levels prior to non-invasive treatment in patients with osteoarthritis of the first carpometacarpal joint.
Methods: We included patients (n = 255) at the start of non-invasive treatment for osteoarthritis of the first carpometacarpal joint who completed the Michigan Hand Outcome Questionnaire. Psychological distress, pain catastrophizing behavior and illness perception was measured. X-rays were scored on presence of scaphotrapeziotrapezoid osteoarthritis. We used hierarchical linear regression analysis to determine to what extent pain levels could be explained by patient characteristics, X-ray scores, and psychological factors.
Results: Patient characteristics and X-ray scores accounted for only 6% of the variation in pre-treatment pain levels. After adding the psychological factors to our model, 47% of the variance could be explained.
Conclusions: Our results show that psychological factors are more strongly related to pain levels prior to non-invasive treatment in patients with osteoarthritis of the first carpometacarpal joint than patient characteristics and X-ray scores, which implies the important role of these factors in the reporting of symptoms. More research is needed to determine whether psychological factors will also affect treatment outcomes for patients treated non-invasively for osteoarthritis of the first carpometacarpal joint.
IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Pain is the most important complaint for patients with osteoarthritis of the first carpometacarpal joint. Psychological factors are strongly associated with pain levels prior to treatment. Pain catastrophizing behavior appears to be a promising target for complementary treatment in patients with osteoarthritis of the first carpometacarpal joint.