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Internet interventions for chronic pain including headache: a systematic review
Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Surgical Sciences, Pain Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4753-6745
2016 (English)In: Internet Interventions, ISSN 2214-7829, Vol. 4, 17-34 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Chronic pain is a major health problem and behavioral based treatments have been shown to be effective. However, the availability of these kinds of treatments is scarce and internet-based treatments have been shown to be promising in this area. The objective of the present systematic review is to evaluate internet-based interventions for persons with chronic pain. The specific aims are to do an updated review with a broad inclusion of different chronic pain diagnoses and to assess disability and pain and also measures of catastrophizing, depression and anxiety. A systematic search identified 891 studies and 22 trials were selected as eligible for review. Two of the selected trials included children/youth and five included individuals with chronic headache and/or migraine. The most frequently measured domain reflected in the primary outcomes was interference/disability, followed by catastrophizing. Result across the studies showed a number of beneficial effects. Twelve trials reported significant effects on disability/interference outcomes and pain intensity. Positive effects were also found on psychological variable such as catastrophizing, depression and anxiety. Several studies (n = 12) were assessed to have an unclear level of risk bias. The attrition levels ranged from 4% to 54% where the headache trials had the highest drop-out levels. However, findings suggest that internet-based treatments based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are efficacious measured with different outcome variables. Results are in line with trials in clinical settings. Meta-analytic statistics were calculated for interference/disability, pain intensity, catastrophizing and mood ratings. Results showed that the effect size for interference/disability was Hedge's g = − 0.39, for pain intensity Hedge's g = − 0.33, for catastrophizing Hedge's g = − 0.49 and for mood variables (depression) Hedge's g = − 0.26.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 4, 17-34 p.
National Category
Applied Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-129107DOI: 10.1016/j.invent.2015.12.001OAI: diva2:935750
Available from: 2016-06-12 Created: 2016-06-12 Last updated: 2016-06-28

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