Automated Internet-based pain coping skills training to manage osteoarthritis pain

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Automated Internet-based pain coping skills training to manage osteoarthritis pain

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Title: Automated Internet-based pain coping skills training to manage osteoarthritis pain
Author: Rini, Christine; Porter, Laura S.; Somers, Tamara J.; McKee, Daphne C.; DeVellis, Robert F.; Smith, Meredith; Winkel, Gary; Ahern, David Kevin; Goldman, Roberta E.; Stiller, Jamie L.; Mariani, Cara; Patterson, Carolyn Julia; Jordan, Joanne M.; Caldwell, David S.; Keefe, Francis J.

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Rini, Christine, Laura S. Porter, Tamara J. Somers, Daphne C. McKee, Robert F. DeVellis, Meredith Smith, Gary Winkel, et al. 2015. “Automated Internet-Based Pain Coping Skills Training to Manage Osteoarthritis Pain.” PAIN 156 (5) (May): 837–848. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000121.
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Abstract: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of disability in the United States and globally, [14; 39] and the burdens it causes are expected to increase as the world’s population ages [14; 23]. Non-pharmacological treatments are a recommended component of current guidelines for treating OA pain [53]. Although evidence is mixed that people benefit from non-pharmacological treatments such self-management interventions and patient education [e.g., 17; 25; 38; 45], one non-pharmacological therapy—pain coping skills training (PCST)—has demonstrated more consistently positive outcomes [38]. PCST focuses specifically on educating people about cognitive and behavioral pain coping skills and helping them master those skills so they can become more actively involved in managing their pain--the most common and debilitating OA symptom [33]. It includes two main components: 1) a rationale linking pain to patterns of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral pain responses, and 2) training in skills such as attention diversion (e.g., relaxation), cognitive restructuring (to address catastrophizing and other maladaptive cognitive patterns), and activity patterns (e.g., activity-rest cycling). It has traditionally been delivered in-person by a trained therapist over 10-12 weeks. Randomized controlled trials demonstrate that PCST significantly improves pain and other outcomes [e.g., 24; 29; 30; 31; 63]. Moreover, interventions such as PCST have fewer adverse effects than pharmacological pain treatments and are well-received by patients.

Thus, research supports the efficacy of in-person PCST. However, access to this intervention is limited by barriers such as lack of trained therapists, the substantial resources needed to deliver it, and the need for people to travel to in-person training held at scheduled times [22; 59] There is a clear need for an approach that makes PCST more accessible. The Internet—a proven method for delivering behavioral interventions—provides an avenue for meeting this need [15; 42; 58; 65], especially given older adults’ increasing use of the Internet [69].

The present pilot study was a two-arm randomized controlled trial conducted to evaluate the potential efficacy and acceptability of an eight-week, automated, Internet-based version of PCST called PainCOACH. This program was designed to retain key therapeutic features of the in-person PCST protocol, simulating in-person PCST while presenting training in an easy-to-use format with guided instruction, individualized feedback, interactive exercises, and animated demonstrations [57]. We hypothesized that: (1) PainCOACH would reduce pain (primary outcome) and improve pain-related interference with functioning, pain-related anxiety, self-efficacy for pain management, and positive and negative affect; and (2) acceptability would be high. Our overarching goal was to use findings from this early-stage research to refine the program and study protocol in preparation for a larger-scale trial.

Additionally, we explored sex differences in responses to PainCOACH, based on evidence in our own lab and others showing significant sex differences in pain, pain responses, pain behavior, and pain coping in people with OA [e.g., 1; 19; 27; 32; see 54; 62; 67]. The potential for men and women to respond differently to pain interventions is important but rarely evaluated in research.
Published Version: doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000121
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