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New self-management program offers significant benefits for arthritis patients with chronic pain
Date:6/12/2008

Paris, France, Thursday 12 June 2008: A new two week programme significantly reduces healthcare visits, pain scores and health distress in arthritis patients with chronic pain. Results were comparable to existing six week self-management programmes and the benefits of the programme were sustained for six months with improvements continuing up to a year later, according to researchers.

Devised by the UK charity Arthritis Care and pain specialists at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK, the 'Challenging Pain' programme enrolled 186 patients into 18 workshop groups. The patients comprised a combination of family doctor and self referrals. Each workshop consisted of two half-day sessions on consecutive weeks, with tutorship on a range of pain management techniques, including relaxation, stress management and exercise, as well as strategies for managing fatigue.

The programme effectiveness was assessed by questionnaires and focus group discussions with the course participants at 6 and 12 month follow-up. Quantitative results using Wilcoxon signed rank test (a tool used to compare differences between measurements) indicated statistically significant reductions across pain scores (reduced by 7% at 6 months and by 14% at 12 months). GP visits (reduced by 17% at 6 months and by 23% at 12 months) and health distress (reduced by 15% at 6 months and by 31% at 12 months) and self-efficacy was improved (increased by 17% at 6 months and by 27% at 12 months). Qualitative reporting supported these results and showed that patients felt the programme to be beneficial. All results were sustained at 6 months follow up and continued to improve at 12 months.

Janet Cowlard, who led the study in conjunction with physicians at Derriford Hospital, said: "We devised this programme to try to ease the burden of chronic pain in patients with arthritis and other long-term pain conditions, whilst offering a faster and more cost effective management approach. Our new p
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Contact: Rory Berrie / Camilla Dormer
eularpressoffice@uk.cohnwolfe.com
44-077-892-70392
European League Against Rheumatism
Source:Eurekalert

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