Development of a preoperative neuroscience educational program for patients with lumbar radiculopathy Academic Article uri icon


  • Postoperative rehabilitation for lumbar radiculopathy has shown little effect on reducing pain and disability. Current preoperative education programs with a focus on a biomedical approach feature procedural and anatomical information, and these too have shown little effect on postoperative outcomes. This report describes the development of an evidence-based educational program and booklet for patients undergoing lumbar surgery for radiculopathy using a recently conducted systematic review of neuroscience education for musculoskeletal pain. The previous systematic review produced evidence for neuroscience education as well as best-evidence synthesis of the content and delivery methods for neuroscience education for musculoskeletal pain. These evidence statements were extracted and developed into patient-centered messages and a booklet, which was then evaluated by peer and patient review. The neuroscience educational booklet and preoperative program convey key messages from the previous systematic review aimed at reducing fear and anxiety before surgery and assist in developing realistic expectations regarding pain after surgery. Key topics include the decision to undergo surgery, pain processing, peripheral nerve sensitization, effect of anxiety and stress on pain, surgery and the nervous system, and decreasing nerve sensitization. Feedback from the evaluations of the booklet and preoperative program was favorable from all review groups, suggesting that this proposed evidence-based neuroscience educational program may be ready for clinical application.

publication date

  • 2013