Patients' Preferences for Pain Treatment Modalities in a Multidisciplinary Pain Clinic

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Forty-four male and 74 female patients in a multidisciplinary pain clinic rated their preferences for nine pain treatment modalities: ice, TENS, relaxation, group therapy, social work, physical therapy, massage, heat, and lectures. Relaxation, physical therapy, and ice were most liked; TENS, heat, and social work were least liked. Multiple regression analyses indicated that preference for relaxation was the best predictor of decreased pain ratings, while preference for heat was correlated with increased pain ratings. In addition, liking for physical therapy predicted self-ratings at discharge of positive well-being and minor life disruption. Liking for heat predicted self-ratings of major life disruption and nurses' ratings of pain behavior at discharge. The following significant relationships were found between treatment modality preference and patients' scores on the MMPI and Profile of Mood States. Ice—hypochondriasis; TENS—hysteria; relaxation—anger; group therapy—psychopathic deviance, vigor, low confusion; social work—vigor, low fatigue; physical therapy—depression, vigor; heat—hypochondriasis; massage—tension. These results were used to suggest that treatment regimens should take into account patients' moods and personality styles. Researchers were encouraged to replicate this study in other multidisciplinary pain clinics with attention to nuances of their program.

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