Telephone Counselling More Effective Than GP Treatment For Chronic Pain, Research Reveals
Chronic widespread pain can be eased through exercise or telephone counselling, according to new research.
Patients given cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or who followed an exercise plan fared better than if they visited their GP for help.
CBT aims to change patterns of thinking or behaviour by focusing on current problems, such as managing pain, rather than issues from the past.
The latest research, from experts at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Manchester, involved 442 patients.
They were split into four groups: six months of CBT, exercise, both therapies together or treatment as usual with a GP.
The exercise group was offered six fitness instructor-led monthly appointments and were recommended to exercise between 20 and 60 minutes a day with increasing intensity over the six-month period.
At the end of the study, the percentage of patients saying treatment had a positive effect on their pain was 8% of those seeing their GP, 30% of people in the CBT group, 35% in the exercise group and 37% in the group where both therapies were given.
Nine months after treatment started, those patients in the exercise, CBT and combination groups were still seeing benefits, with many still reporting feeling "better" or "very much better" compared with at the start.
The research was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and was funded by Arthritis Research UK, which funds studies into arthritis and related conditions, including chronic widespread pain.
Chronic widespread pain is a feature of fibromyalgia, which affects around one in 10 people and refers to chronic muscular pain and tenderness throughout the body, fatigue and trouble sleeping.