AIM: The aim of this study was to monitor the outcome of a five-week cognitive-behavioral interdisciplinary rehabilitation program for patients disabled by chronic pain, utilizing data collected for a national quality registry.
METHODS: The study included 255 consecutive patients from a university hospital setting. Demographic data and patient beliefs about recovery recorded on a five-category scale were collected before the program. Pain intensity (VAS), Disability Rating Index (DRI) and life satisfaction (LiSat-11) were collected before, immediately after and one year after the program. Partial respondents and non-respondents were excluded;168 patients remained.
RESULTS: Pain intensity decreased (''pain now''; Friedman's test, P<0.0001) by 13 mm (median) after the program, (Dunn's test; P<0.001) and by 5 mm after one year (P<0.05). Only one of twelve DRI items (activity), ''participating in exercise/sports'' improved significantly after rehabilitation (Wilcoxon's test; P=0.0009), and remained improved one year later (P=0.0144). Life satisfaction in the physical and psychological domains increased after the program. A clinically meaningful reduction in pain intensity (10 mm) was reported by 43% of patients at the one-year follow-up. This group had significant increases in life satisfaction. Only patients with positive beliefs about recovery before rehabilitation showed a decrease in pain intensity at the one-year follow-up (P<0.028).
CONCLUSIONS: The program influenced the pain, life satisfaction and, to a small extent, activity. A clinically relevant pain reduction and an increase in life satisfaction were related. Patients' pretreatment beliefs about recovery influenced the long-term decrease of pain intensity, indicating that more attention should be focused on patients' pretreatment beliefs.
2009. Vol. 45, no 3, 391-401 p.