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Internet-Based Pain Self-Management for Veterans: Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of the Pain EASE Program.

Higgins DM, Buta E, Williams DA, Halat A, Bair MJ, Heapy AA, Krein SL, Rajeevan H, Rosen MI, Kerns RD. Internet-Based Pain Self-Management for Veterans: Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of the Pain EASE Program. Pain practice : the official journal of World Institute of Pain. 2020 Apr 1; 20(4):357-370.

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OBJECTIVE: To develop and test the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a cognitive behavioral therapy-based, internet-delivered self-management program for chronic low back pain (cLBP) in veterans. METHODS: Phase I included program development, involving expert panel and participant feedback. Phase II was a single-arm feasibility and preliminary efficacy study of the Pain e-health for Activity, Skills, and Education (Pain EASE) program. Feasibility (ie, website use, treatment credibility, satisfaction) was measured using descriptive methods. Mixed models were used to assess mean within-subject changes from baseline to 10 weeks post-baseline in pain interference (primary outcome, West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory, scale of 0 to 6), pain intensity, mood, fatigue, sleep, and depression. RESULTS: Phase I participants (n  =  15) suggested modifications including style changes, content reduction, additional "Test Your Knowledge" quizzes, and cognitive behavioral therapy skill practice monitoring form revisions for enhanced usability. In Phase II, participants (n  =  58) were mostly male (93%) and White (60%), and had an average age of 55 years (standard deviation [SD]  =  12) and moderate pain (mean score 5.9/10); 41 (71%) completed the post-baseline assessment. Participants (N  =  58) logged on 6.1 (SD  =  8.6) times over 10 weeks, and 85% reported being very or moderately satisfied with Pain EASE. Pain interference improved from a mean of 3.8 at baseline to 3.3 at 10 weeks (difference 0.5 [95% confidence interval 0.1 to 0.9], P  =  0.008). Within-subject improvement also occurred for some secondary outcomes, including mood and depression symptoms. DISCUSSION: Veterans with cLBP may benefit from technology-delivered interventions, which may also reduce pain interference. Overall, veterans found that Pain EASE, an internet-based self-management program, is feasible and satisfactory for cLBP.

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