Delivery of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and simplified pain education (EDU) to patients with chronic pain at low-income clinics improved physical function and pain, according to a new study. The findings of the study are published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
More than 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, a condition that disproportionately affects economically disadvantaged persons, ethnic minority groups, women, and older adults. As the opioid epidemic spirals out of control, new approaches to pain management are needed. CBT has been shown to be effective for chronic pain, but rigorous trials have not been conducted in populations with low socioeconomic status.
Research team from the University of Alabama enrolled 290 patients in the LAMP (Learning About My Pain) study to compare literacy-adapted psychosocial interventions (CBT versus EDU) with usual care for treating chronic pain in a disadvantaged patient population. CBT and EDU were delivered in 10 weekly 90-minute group sessions, with all information and materials modified to be accessible to patients reading at or even below the fifth grade level. At follow up, members of the CBT and EDU groups had larger decreases in pain intensity and increases in physical function scores compared with those in the usual care group.