Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a major health problem among older adults, particularly those who live alone and/or those who are dependent on formal care. Chronic pain is associated with mobility problems, falls, fear of falling, catastrophizing thoughts, and a lower quality of life. Research shows that physical therapy interventions based on behavioral medicine approaches are beneficial for middle-aged adults with chronic pain. However, there appears to be no previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) based on this theoretical framework that have examined the effect on older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain who live alone at home and are dependent on formal care to manage their everyday lives. The aim of the planned study is to evaluate the effect of an individually tailored integrated physical therapy intervention based on a behavioral medicine approach compared with the effect of standard care.
The planned study is an RCT that will include one intervention and one control group involving a total of 150 adults aged ≥75 years with chronic musculoskeletal pain who live alone at home and are dependent on formal care to manage their everyday lives. The intervention will involve a 12-week home-based individually tailored intervention that will be designed to enhance the participants’ ability to perform everyday activities by improving physical function and reducing pain-related disability and beliefs. The control group will be given standard care, including general advice about physical activity. The participants will be assessed at baseline and at 3 and 6 months after baseline. The primary outcome will be pain-related disability and physical performance.