Benefits of a Pain and Stress Management Program for the Management of Chronic Pain

A "Pain and Stress Management" program for the management of chronic pain, was found to be effective in alleviating pain, diminishing stress, promoting self-management of pain, and ameliorating general well-being.
The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2018 American College of Rheumatology and Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ACR/ARHP) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Rheumatology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in rheumatology. Check back for the latest news from ACR/ARHP 2018 .

CHICAGO – A “Pain and Stress Management” program designed and implemented at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, New York to provide an awareness of and the tools for use of complementary and alternative practices for the management of chronic pain, was found to be effective in alleviating pain, diminishing stress, promoting self-management of pain, and ameliorating general well-being, according to a study presented at the 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, held October 19-24 in Chicago, Illinois.

The program was initiated in 2017, at the Ambulatory Care Center of the Hospital for Special Surgery, which caters to low-income patients with chronic musculoskeletal disorders. A total of 122 patients were enrolled and asked to attend weekly meditation sessions delivered through conference calls, as well as monthly workshop and debrief sessions. During meditation sessions, patients practiced mindful breathing and were taught meditation practices aimed at helping them manage their chronic pain and related stress. 

Surveys delivered at the completion of the program indicated high satisfaction (for 98% of study participants), improved knowledge of alternative treatment options (for 95% of participants), and high program acceptability (95% indicated they were able to use techniques taught to manage their pain and stress). One-third of study participants reported having replaced medications with ≥5 weekly sessions of mindful breathing. In addition, during debrief sessions, study participants reported that use of the techniques learned during the program had led to improvements in daily functioning, state of mind, stress levels, and calmness, as well as to greater self-efficacy, diminished pain, and reduced use of prescription medications for pain management.

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“Based on the success of the [Pain and Stress Management] program in the orthopedic clinic, we are expanding the program to patients of the [Hospital for Special Surgery] rheumatology clinic, who also rely on opioid use to cope with chronic pain, to help this population increase their knowledge and awareness of alternative approaches to manage their debilitating condition,” noted the study authors.

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Wimmer M, Wiesel R, Adams B, Goldman M, Ologhobo T, Sun Y, et al. Complementary practices as alternatives to pain: Effectiveness of a pain management program for patients in an orthopedic clinic. Presented at: ACR/ARHP 2018 Annual Meeting; October 19-24, 2018; Chicago, IL. Abstract 2940.

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