Treatment of Nonorganic Recurrent Abdominal Pain: Cognitive-Behavioral Family Intervention


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Abstract

Objectives:We evaluated the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral family intervention in the treatment of crises of pain in children with nonorganic recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) and the thresholds of pain for 17 body surface areas in these children.Methods:A randomized clinical trial was undertaken with 32 children between the ages of 5.1 and 13.9 years with nonorganic RAP. A group of 15 patients, aged 9.9 ± 2.2 years (11 girls), received standard pediatric care and cognitive-behavioral family intervention for treatment of pain crises. The control group of 17 children, aged 8.4 ± 2.0 years (11 girls), received only standard pediatric care. These procedures were undertaken by general pediatricians over 4 monthly sessions. An analog visual scale was used to measure the frequency and intensity of the pain crises per month and a mechanical pressure algometer for the measurement of pain threshold.Results:The median frequency of pain crises per month reported by patients at the 3 monthly cognitive-behavioral family intervention sessions was 15, 5, 2 and 2, respectively. In contrast, the median frequency for pain crises per month reported by the control group was 12, 8, 10 and 8, respectively. The difference between the intervention group and the controls was statistically significant for frequency of pain at the second, third and fourth visits. There was no statistical difference for intensity of pain or for measured pain thresholds between the control and the intervention group.Conclusions:The cognitive-behavioral family intervention reduced the frequency of pain crises of children with nonorganic RAP. This successful intervention was carried out by the intervention of general pediatricians.

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