An observational study of two rehabilitation strategies for patients with chronic pain, focusing on sick leave at one-year follow-up
Daniel Merrick, Gunnevi Sundelin, Britt-Marie Stålnacke
Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
Objective: To follow up 2 rehabilitation strategies for patients with chronic pain: a 2-day interdisciplinary team assessment followed by either (i) a 4-week outpatient multimodal rehabilitation programme, or (ii) a subsequent rehabilitation plan.
Methods: After a 2-day interdisciplinary team assessment at our pain rehabilitation clinic, 296 consecutive patients were selected to undergo either multimodal rehabilitation programme (n = 76) or rehabilitation plan (n = 220). They completed questionnaires regarding beliefs about the future (only at assessment), Multidimensional Pain Inventory and sick leave, both at assessment, and at 1-year follow-up.
Results: Both the rehabilitation plan and multimodal rehabilitation programme groups improved significantly as regards decreased sick leave and the Multidimensional Pain Inventory scales Pain severity, Interference, and Support. The multimodal rehabilitation programme group also improved significantly regarding Life control and Affective distress. For men, low disability level and for women a positive expectation about work was associated with no sick leave at follow-up.
Conclusion: The multimodal rehabilitation programme had long-term positive effects on sick leave and all Multidimensional Pain Inventory scales. However, a less intense intervention (rehabilitation plan) with follow-up in primary care can decrease levels of sick leave and improve some Multidimensional Pain Inventory scales. An interdisciplinary team assessment of patients with chronic pain seems to be useful for selecting which patients should undergo different rehabilitation interventions.
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