This study investigated the prospective value of pain catastrophizing, fear of pain, and depression in the prediction of multisite musculoskeletal pain after experimentally induced delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The study sample was comprised of 119 (63 females, 56 males) healthy university students. Measures of pain catastrophizing, fear of pain, and depression were completed before the DOMS induction procedure. Analyses showed that pain catastrophizing and fear of pain prospectively predicted the experience of multisite pain following DOMS induction. Analyses also revealed that women were more likely to experience multisite pain than men. There was no significant relation between depressive symptoms and the experience of multisite pain. The discussion addresses the mechanisms by which pain catastrophizing and fear of pain might contribute to the spreading of pain. Clinical implications of the findings are also addressed.
This experimental study’s findings indicate that pain catastrophizing and fear of pain could increase the risk of developing multisite pain following musculoskeletal injury.