Navy Functional Restoration Pain Program Shows Success

SAN DIEGO — Chronic pain is the leading cause of medical discharge from active duty military service. Disability payments related to the condition also are a significant economic cost to the DoD.

To try to improve the situation, the Naval Medical Center San Diego created a functional restoration pain program (FRPP). The goal was to successfully return chronic pain patients to full military fitness for duty through a comprehensive program of physical reconditioning and psychosocial interventions to address maladaptive cognitive factors associated with prolonged disability.

The effectiveness of FRPP, is an intense, multidisciplinary, medically-supervised program offered to active-duty participants on a part-time basis for eight weeks, was studied and the results were presented earlier this year at the 2017 American Association of Pain Management meeting held in Orlando.1

For the review, data was collected through the Pain Assessment Screening Tool and Outcomes Registry (PASTOR)-Plus, a quality improvement initiative which has the ability to determine patient-derived psychosocial measurements. That allows providers to customize treatments to each patient’s needs.

Results indicated significant improvements in psychosocial outcome measures of social satisfaction, kinesiophobia, chronic pain acceptance, self-efficacy and catastrophizing immediately after FRPP relative to pretreatment functioning levels. The improvements were maintained six months after program completion, the authors reported.

Researchers also noted that a trend toward improved Chronic Pain Acceptance (CPAQ) scores at FRPP completion might be predictive of those who remained on active duty six months later.

“Initial findings highlight the efficacy and military relevance of this program in supporting servicemembers’ ability to maintain fitness for military duty,” the study team concluded. “Patients experienced a significant relief of psychosocial distress markers, yielding a quantifiable indicator of success in re-engaging chronic pain patients and impacting their quality of life.”

  1. Medina-Torne S, Hanling S, Nahavandi P, McChesney K, Schumacher M. Initial Impact of a Military Functional Restoration Pain Program, presented at the 2017 AAPM Annual Meeting. Orlando, FL. March 15-19, 2017.

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