2013 Issues   /   February 2013

Telephone Therapies Helped Elderly Veterans in Pain

USM By U.S. Medicine
February 8, 2013

Telephone Therapies Helped Elderly Veterans in Pain

SAN FRANCISCO — Telephone-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and education (EDU) were helpful in management of chronic pain in older military veterans, according to a new study which calls for further study of the interventions for the rural-living elderly with chronic pain.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Services, looked at the effectiveness of telephone-delivered therapies in the veterans enrolled in VA primary-care clinics. It was led by researchers from the San Francisco VAMC.1

In a randomized trial, researchers compared telephone CBT with telephone-delivered pain education EDU. The study group included 98 military veterans with chronic pain randomized into one of two treatment conditions.

Study participants were recruited from primary-care clinics at an urban VA medical center and affiliated VA community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs).

Pain management outcomes were measured at midtreatment (10 weeks), posttreatment (20 weeks), three-month follow-up (32 weeks) and six-month follow-up (46 weeks).

Researchers found no significant differences between the two treatment groups on any of the outcome measures. Both treatment groups, however, reported small but meaningful increases in level of physical and mental health, and reductions in pain and depressive symptoms.

The authors also noted that improvements in all primary outcome measures were mediated by reductions in catastrophizing.

    1. Carmody TP, Duncan CL, Huggins J, Solkowitz SN, Lee SK, Reyes N, Mozgai S,Simon JA. Telephone-Delivered Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Pain Management Among Older Military Veterans: A Randomized Trial. Psychol Serv. 2012 Dec 17. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23244028



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