A multicomponent intervention for the management of chronic pain in older adults: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Sheung-Tak Cheng, Ka Long Chan, Rosanna W. L. Lam, Monique H. T. Mok, Phoon Ping Chen, Yu Fat Chow, Joanne W. Y. Chung, Alexander C. B. Law, Jenny S. W. Lee, Edward M. F. Leung, Cindy W. C. Tam

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Background: Studies have shown that physical interventions and psychological methods based on the cognitive behavioral approach are efficacious in alleviating pain and that combining both tends to yield more benefits than either intervention alone. In view of the aging population with chronic pain and the lack of evidence-based pain management programs locally, we developed a multicomponent intervention incorporating physical exercise and cognitive behavioral techniques and examined its long-term effects against treatment as usual (i.e., pain education) in older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain in Hong Kong.

Methods/design: We are conducting a double-blind, cluster-randomized controlled trial. A sample of 160 participants aged ≥ 60 years will be recruited from social centers or outpatient clinics and will be randomized on the basis of center/clinic to either the multicomponent intervention or the pain education program. Both interventions consist of ten weekly sessions of 90 minutes each. The primary outcome is pain intensity, and the secondary outcomes include pain interference, pain persistence, pain self-efficacy, pain coping, pain catastrophizing cognitions, health-related quality of life, depressive symptoms, and hip and knee muscle strength. All outcome measures will be collected at baseline, postintervention, and at 3 and 6 months follow-up. Intention-to-treat analysis will be performed using mixed-effects regression to see whether the multicomponent intervention alleviates pain intensity and associated outcomes over and above the effects of pain education (i.e., a treatment × time intervention effect).

Discussion: Because the activities included in the multicomponent intervention were carefully selected for ready implementation by allied health professionals in general, the results of this study, if positive, will make available an efficacious, nonpharmacological pain management program that can be widely adopted in clinical and social service settings and will hence improve older people’s access to pain management services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number528
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2017

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