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      A behavioral medicine intervention for community-dwelling older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain: protocol for a randomized controlled trial

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          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.


          The intervention, if effective, will have the potential to be the basis of the first evidence-based guidelines for physical therapists who work with older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

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          Most cited references 47

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              Lower extremity function and subsequent disability: consistency across studies, predictive models, and value of gait speed alone compared with the short physical performance battery.

              Although it has been demonstrated that physical performance measures predict incident disability in previously nondisabled older persons, the available data have not been fully developed to create usable methods for determining risk profiles in community-dwelling populations. Using several populations and different follow-up periods, this study replicates previous findings by using the Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (EPESE) performance battery and provides equations for the prediction of disability risk according to age, sex, and level of performance. Tests of balance, time to walk 8 ft, and time to rise from a chair 5 times were administered to 4,588 initially nondisabled persons in the four sites of the EPESE and to 1,946 initially nondisabled persons in the Hispanic EPESE. Follow-up assessment for activity of daily living (ADL) and mobility-related disability occurred from 1 to 6 years later. In the EPESE, compared with those with the best performance (EPESE summary performance score of 10-12), the relative risks of mobility-related disability for those with scores of 4-6 ranged from 2.9 to 4.9 and the relative risk of disability for those with scores of 7-9 ranged from 1.5 to 2.1, with similar consistent results for ADL disability. The observed rates of incident disability according to performance level in the Hispanic EPESE agreed closely with rates predicted from models developed from the EPESE sites. Receiver operating characteristic curves showed that gait speed alone performed almost as well as the full battery in predicting incident disability. Performance tests of lower extremity function accurately predict disability across diverse populations. Equations derived from models using both the summary score and the gait speed alone allow for the estimation of risk of disability in community-dwelling populations and provide valuable information for estimating sample size for clinical trials of disability prevention.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                10 April 2017
                : 10
                : 845-853
                [1 ]Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Oslo, Norway
                [2 ]Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Sara Cederbom, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, PO Box 4, St. Olavs Plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway, Tel +47 67 23 68 02, Email sara.cederbom@ 123456hioa.no
                © 2017 Cederbom et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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