Guided Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioural Self-Management Intervention for Individuals With Chronic Pain: a Feasibility Study
Background: The “gold standard” in chronic pain treatment is multidisciplinary care. With long wait times to receive appropriate care, there is a need for improved access to non-pharmacological treatments in the time gap between primary and specialist care. The Internet is emerging as a tool for delivery of healthcare information and intervention. Using this format to offer access to chronic pain therapies prior to specialist intervention may improve outcomes. Objective: To develop and test a guided Internet-based intervention for individuals with chronic pain waiting for specialty care. Method: A novel, Internet-based chronic pain intervention (ICPI) was developed, using evidence-based concepts proven effective in face-to-face interventions. This study was designed to assess feasibility of conducting larger-scale research and usability of the ICPI, and to collect preliminary data on effectiveness of the intervention. Data were collected at baseline, after each of the six intervention modules and 12 weeks after completion of the intervention. Results: Participants with chronic pain (n=41) reported satisfaction with the structure of the intervention, and ease of use at and away from their computers. Use of the Internet as a recruitment strategy aided in accrual of participants, making further large-scale study of the ICPI feasible. Preliminary data showed that the ICPI was effective in improving emotional function, had no demonstrable effect on physical function and produced a small but significant decrease in average and current pain intensity and pain interference. Most participants felt they benefited at least minimally overall as a result of using the ICPI. Conclusion: The newly-developed ICPI was well-received by participants and demonstrated some positive outcomes in this preliminary study. Further research with more participants is feasible and necessary, to fully assess the effect of this intervention.