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Collaborative Care Improves Chronic Pain

Compared with usual care, it also improves depression in those with chronic pain

TUESDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients who experience chronic pain, those who receive a collaborative approach to pain treatment have improvements in pain and depression severity compared with usual care, researchers report in the March 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Steven K. Dobscha, M.D., from Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oregon, and colleagues randomly assigned 401 patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain and disability to assistance with pain treatment (involving collaborative care) or usual treatment.

Over 12 months, the researchers found that patients receiving assistance with pain treatment had significantly greater improvement in pain-related disability (as assessed by the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire) and pain intensity (as assessed by the Chronic Pain Grade Pain Intensity subscale). Patients in this group who were depressed at baseline also had a significantly greater improvement in depression severity (as assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire 9).

"Overall, this study showed that a collaborative care intervention for chronic pain was significantly more effective than treatment as usual across a variety of outcome measures," Dobscha and colleagues conclude. "Although many of the improvements were modest, they may be especially meaningful because patients in our sample were older, had long-standing pain, multiple medical problems and reported high baseline rates of disability."

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