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From Catastrophizing to Recovery: a pilot study of a single-session treatment for pain catastrophizing

Authors Darnall BD, Sturgeon JA, Kao MC, Hah JM, Mackey SC

Published Date April 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 219—226

DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S62329

Received 12 February 2014, Accepted 19 March 2014, Published 25 April 2014

Beth D Darnall, John A Sturgeon, Ming-Chih Kao, Jennifer M Hah, Sean C Mackey

Division of Pain Medicine, Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Background: Pain catastrophizing (PC) – a pattern of negative cognitive-emotional responses to real or anticipated pain – maintains chronic pain and undermines medical treatments. Standard PC treatment involves multiple sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy. To provide efficient treatment, we developed a single-session, 2-hour class that solely treats PC entitled “From Catastrophizing to Recovery”[FCR].
Objectives: To determine 1) feasibility of FCR; 2) participant ratings for acceptability, understandability, satisfaction, and likelihood to use the information learned; and 3) preliminary efficacy of FCR for reducing PC.
Design and methods: Uncontrolled prospective pilot trial with a retrospective chart and database review component. Seventy-six patients receiving care at an outpatient pain clinic (the Stanford Pain Management Center) attended the class as free treatment and 70 attendees completed and returned an anonymous survey immediately post-class. The Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) was administered at class check-in (baseline) and at 2, and 4 weeks post-treatment. Within subjects repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Student's t-test contrasts were used to compare scores across time points.
Results: All attendees who completed a baseline PCS were included as study participants (N=57; F=82%; mean age =50.2 years); PCS was completed by 46 participants at week 2 and 35 participants at week 4. Participants had significantly reduced PC at both time points (P<0001) and large effect sizes were found (Cohen's d=0.85 and d=1.15).
Conclusion: Preliminary data suggest that FCR is an acceptable and effective treatment for PC. Larger, controlled studies of longer duration are needed to determine durability of response, factors contributing to response, and the impact on pain, function and quality of life.

Keywords: chronic pain, cognitive behavioral therapy, pain treatment, chronic debilitation, pain treatment costs, pain psychology

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