Physical therapists consider many factors in the treatment of patients with musculoskeletal pain. The current literature suggests expectation is an influential component of clinical outcomes related to musculoskeletal pain for which physical therapists frequently do not account. The purpose of this clinical perspective is to highlight the potential role of expectation in the clinical outcomes associated with the rehabilitation of individuals experiencing musculoskeletal pain. The discussion focuses on the definition and measurement of expectation, the relationship between expectation and outcomes related to musculoskeletal pain conditions, the mechanisms through which expectation may alter musculoskeletal pain conditions, and suggested ways in which clinicians may integrate the current literature regarding expectation into clinical practice.
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