Cognitive Behavioural Techniques for Changing the Coping Skills of Patients with Chronic Pain

Olivia W.Y. Lau, Louise N.Y. Leung, Ling O.L. Wong
2002 Hong Kong Journal of Occupational Therapy  
This study investigated the effect of a cognitive behavioural approach on changing the coping skills of patients who experienced chronic pain. The cognitive behavioural strategies included psycho-education, experiential practices, and guided imagery. These strategies should modify the patients' coping skills for pain and, hence, reduce the pain level of these patients. Methods: A total of 19 subjects with a mean age of 47.7 years (standard deviation, SD = 7.1) who were injured at work
more » ... d at work participated in the three-session intervention. Assessments on knowledge, coping skills, and perceived pain were conducted at the beginning of the first session and at the end of the last session. These included a nine-item quiz on the mechanisms and perceptions of pain, visual analogue scale rating of pain intensity, and a Coping Strategies Questionnaire for pain. Results: The results showed that the patients had significant increases in the knowledge of pain perception by the end of the sessions (p < 0.001). At the same time, there was a significant decrease in the perceived pain intensity (p = 0.045). Among the five coping strategies, the patients demonstrated significant changes in the use of three coping strategies, namely diverting attention, reinterpreting pain sensations and ignoring sensations (p < 0.05). No significant differences were revealed in the coping self-statements and catastrophizing strategies. Regression analysis suggested that only the change in ignoring sensation strategy was significant in predicting the decrease in perceived pain intensity of the patients. Conclusion: The cognitive behavioural approach is useful for modifying the coping skills and, thus, chronic pain of injured workers. Nevertheless, this study only focused on the short-term effect of the pain management strategies. Further research may focus on large-scale clinical trials and evaluate the long-term effects of cognitive behavioural strategies on promoting workers with chronic pain to return to work.
doi:10.1016/s1569-1861(09)70013-0 fatcat:vzu27anmb5h7hiuxcblbc4e56u