NIH-funded study on pain management

Chronic Low Back Pain most common source of chronic pain

Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP) is the most common source of chronic pain in the United States and globally. Though the use of surgery and pharmaceutical interventions to manage CLBP is rising, the body of evidence has led to pain education and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) being recommended as first-line treatments.

A single two-hour session of a pain management skills class could offer as much benefit as eight sessions of (CBT) for patients experiencing (CLBP), suggests a study published in JAMA Network Open. Supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, both part of the National Institutes of Health, the study explored whether a compressed intervention could lead to the same benefits as a longer course of CBT.

The research team of Stanford University School of Medicine

The research team, led by Beth D. Darnall, PhD, of Stanford University School of Medicine, California, recruited 263 adults who had experienced CLBP for at least six months, with an average pain intensity of 4/10 or greater randomized them to three different treatment arms. The 87 patients randomized to the empowered relief group participated in a single, two-hour pain relief skill-building class. The empowered relief intervention incorporated pain education, mindfulness principles, and self-regulatory skills like relaxation, cognitive reframing, and self-soothing. The 88 patients in the CBT group participated in eight two-hour classes in pain management education and active cognitive-behavioural skill-building. Within the health education group, 88 patients participated in a single two-hour class about back health, designed to match the empowered relief class in duration, structure, format, and class site.

Primary study outcome

In the study, the primary outcome was measured in differences in the Pain Catastrophizing Score at three months after treatment. Researchers designated several secondary outcomes, including pain intensity and bothersomeness during the previous seven days, pain interference in daily living like sleep or physical function, and other outcomes.

On Tuesday 12 October 2021 the MEP Interest Group on Integrative Medicine and Health will hold an event with leading experts in the field of Integrative Medicine and Health in Pain Management.

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MEP Michèle Rivasi passed away on 29 November 2023

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