Chronic musculoskeletal pain is common and costly, but few studies have looked at interventions to improve pain control in primary care.
US researchers have discovered that analgesic management provided through a predominantly telephone-based approach is better than usual care in improving pain outcomes (JAMA 2014;312(3):240–248).
A total of 250 US veterans aged 18 to 65 received either usual care from their doctor or the intervention, which consisted of automated symptom monitoring (where patients used interactive voice recorded telephone calls or the internet) and analgesic management by a nurse and physician pain specialist.
Patients in the intervention group were twice as likely to see their pain improve, while patients in the control arm were twice as likely to get worse.
The researchers conclude that this type of therapy can be efficiently delivered through a predominantly telephone and internet-based approach.