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Hypnosis Enhances the Effects of Pain Education in Patients With Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

      Highlights

      • Hypnosis can be combined with education in patients with chronic low back pain.
      • The addition of hypnosis improves pain intensity, disability, and catastrophizing.
      • The beneficial effects are enhanced, at least in the short- and medium-term.
      • The intervention can be offered in group settings.

      Abstract

      The potential benefits of combining pain education (PE) with clinical hypnosis (CH) has not yet been investigated in individuals with chronic pain. A total of 100 patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain were randomized to receive either: 1) PE alone, or 2) PE with CH. Outcomes were collected by a blinded assessor at 2 weeks and 3 months after randomization. The primary outcomes were average pain intensity, worst pain intensity (both assessed with 11-point numeric rating scales), and disability (24-item Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire) at 2 weeks. At 2 weeks, participants who received PE with CH reported lower worst pain intensity (mean difference = 1.35 points, 95% confidence interval [CI] = .32–2.37) and disability (mean difference = 2.34 points, 95% CI = .06–4.61), but not average pain intensity (mean difference = .67 point, 95% CI = −.27 to 1.62), relative to participants who received PE alone. PE with CH participants also reported more global perceived benefits at 2 weeks (mean difference = −1.98 points, 95% CI = −3.21 to −.75). At 3 months, participants who received PE with CH reported lower worst pain intensity (mean difference = 1.32 points, 95% CI = .29–2.34) and catastrophizing (mean difference = 5.30 points, 95% CI = 1.20–9.41). No adverse effects in either treatment condition were reported. To our knowledge, this is the first trial showing that additional use of hypnosis with PE results in improved outcomes over PE alone in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain.

      Perspective

      This study provides evidence supporting the efficacy of another treatment option for teaching patients to self-manage chronic low back pain that has a relatively low cost and that can be offered in groups.

      Key words

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