Numerous studies in the fields of rehabilitation, psychotherapy and less in physiotherapy have shown that expectations of both patient and therapist regarding treatment outcome may affect the prognosis of (chronic) pain, particularly musculoskeletal pain. The underlying theory of treatment outcome expectancy attempts to explain the relationship between expectations and outcomes. This theory states that not only a patient’s expectations but also the physiotherapist’s expectations will affect their experiences positively or negatively in relation to clinical outcomes.
There are indications that, at present, many physiotherapists perform their clinical assessment for (chronic) musculoskeletal pain mainly based on biomedical and somatic features. Moreover, they feel unprepared to treat patients with chronic pain by exploring psychosocial factors, particularly expectancy and credibility, that influence recovery in functioning and treatment outcome.