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Randomized Trial of a Low-Literacy Chronic Pain Self-Management Program: Analysis of Secondary Pain and Psychological Outcome Measures

      Abstract

      Based on input of rural, largely Hispanic persons with chronic pain, a low-literacy, 6-month self-management program was developed, drawing on elements of existing pain toolkits. In a randomized trial, low-income, primarily Hispanic patients with chronic pain received the program in 6 sessions of 1-on-1 meetings with a trained health educator in clinic or in 8 group lectures by experts in the community. Intention-to-treat analyses in linear mixed-effects models were conducted for 5 secondary outcomes at 6 months, including Brief Pain Inventory pain severity and interference, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, 12-Item Short-Form Survey Mental Component Summary, and Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia-11. A total of 111 participants were randomized (15.9% of 700 initially eligible from 3 clinics), and 67 (60.4%) completed 6-month measures. Among completers, the clinic arm improved on 4 measures and community arm on 3 measures (all P < .05). Effect sizes were small to moderate (.41–.52). In intention-to-treat analyses, both arms improved on 4 of 5 measures (all P ≤ .001) versus baseline, with clinically significant changes in Brief Pain Inventory pain severity and interference. Improvement in multiple outcomes after this chronic pain self-management program for low-income patients warrants further study.

      Perspective

      In an evaluation of a low-literacy, 6-month chronic pain self-management program, similar improvements were observed among primarily Hispanic participants whether the intervention was delivered by a health educator or in groups with lectures from experts.

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