Psychological approaches in the treatment of chronic pain patients.

Posted At : September 5, 2008 2:57 AM | Posted By : Tim Brunson, PhD Related Categories: 

Pain Management

BACKGROUND: Chronic pain is a prevalent and costly problem that eludes adequate treatment. Persistent pain affects all domains of people's lives and in the absence of cure, success will greatly depend on adaptation to symptoms and self-management. METHOD: We reviewed the psychological models that have been used to conceptualize chronic pain-psychodynamic, behavioural (respondent and operant), and cognitive-behavioural. Treatments based on these models, including insight, external reinforcement, motivational interviewing, relaxation, meditation, biofeedback, guided imagery, and hypnosis are described. RESULTS: The cognitive-behavioural perspective has the greatest amount of research supports the effectiveness of this approach with chronic pain patients. Importantly, we differentiate the cognitive-behavioural perspective from cognitive and behavioural techniques and suggest that the perspective on the role of patients' beliefs, attitudes, and expectations in the maintenance and exacerbation of symptoms are more important than the specific techniques. The techniques are all geared to fostering self-control and self-management that will encourage a patient to replace their feelings of passivity, dependence, and hopelessness with activity, independence, and resourcefulness. CONCLUSIONS: Psychosocial and behavioural factors play a significant role in the experience, maintenance, and exacerbation of pain. Self-management is an important complement to biomedical approaches. Cognitive-behavioural therapy alone or within the context of an interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation program has the greatest empirical evidence for success. As none of the most commonly prescribed treatment regimens are sufficient to eliminate pain, a more realistic approach will likely combine pharmacological, physical, and psychological components tailored to each patient's needs.Turk DC, Swanson KS, Tunks ER. University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195-6540, USA. Can J Psychiatry. 2008 Apr;53(4):213-23.

Relationship of headache-associated stressors and hypnosis therapy outcome in children.

Posted At : September 3, 2008 2:56 AM | Posted By : Tim Brunson, PhD Related Categories: 

Pain Management

This study examined potential psychosocial stressors of 30 children with headaches (mean age, 15 years), and the role of insight generation in the outcome of hypnosis therapy. The mean duration of headache occurrence was 3 years. All of the patients were instructed in how to use hypnosis-induced relaxation and headache-related imagery to improve their symptoms. Thirty-seven percent reported their headaches were associated with fixed stressors, defined as caused by events over which patients had no control, while 63% reported variable stressors, defined as modifiable by the patients' actions. Four patients were lost to follow-up. Overall, 96% (25/26) reported a decrease in headache frequency and/or intensity following use of hypnosis. However, prior to insight generation patients reporting fixed stressors were significantly less likely to improve than those reporting variable stressors (p = 0.018). Thus, insight generation may be more important for achievement of improvement in children whose headaches are associated with fixed stressors.Anbar RD, Zoughbi GG. Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, State University of New York Upstate Medical University Syracuse, NY 13110, USA. Am J Clin Hypn. 2008 Apr;50(4):335-41.

Hypnosis in the management of persistent idiopathic orofacial pain--clinical and psychosocial find.

Posted At : August 29, 2008 2:54 AM | Posted By : Tim Brunson, PhD Related Categories: 

Pain Management

This controlled and patient blinded study tested the effect of hypnosis on persistent idiopathic orofacial pain (PIOP) in terms of clinical and psychosocial findings. Forty-one PIOP were randomized to active hypnotic intervention or simple relaxation as control for five individual 1-h sessions. Primary outcome was average pain intensity scored three times daily in a pain diary using visual analogue scale (VAS). Secondary outcome measures were pain quality assessed by McGill pain questionnaire (MPQ), psychological symptoms assessed by symptom check list (SCL), quality of life assessed by SF36, sleep quality, and consumption of analgesic. Data were compared between groups before and after treatment using ANOVA models and paired t-tests. The change in VAS pain scores from baseline to the last treatment (t4) was (33.1+/-7.4%) in the hypnosis group and (3.2+/-5.4%) in the control group (P<0.03). In the hypnosis group, highly hypnotic susceptible patients had greater decreases in VAS pain scores (55.0+/-12.3%) when compared to less susceptible patients (17.9+/-6.7%) (P<0.02). After the last treatment there were also statistically significant differences between groups in perceived pain area (MPQ) and the use of weak analgesics (P<0.03). There were no statistically significant changes in SCL or SF36 scores from baseline to t4. In conclusion, hypnosis seems to offer clinically relevant pain relief in PIOP, particularly in highly susceptible patients. However, stress coping skills and unresolved psychological problems need to be included in a comprehensive management plan in order also to address psychological symptoms and quality of life.Abrahamsen R, Baad-Hansen L, Svensson P. Department of Clinical Oral Physiology, School of Dentistry, University of Aarhus, Vennelyst Boulevard 9, DK-8000 Aarhus, Denmark. Pain. 2008 May;136(1-2):44-52.