Getting Back to Living: Further Evidence for the Efficacy of an Interdisciplinary Pediatric Pain Treatment Program

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Abstract

Objective:

This study examined key functional outcomes following a 3-week interdisciplinary pediatric pain rehabilitation program for adolescents with chronic pain. Maintenance of gains was evaluated at 3-month follow-up.

Methods:

Participants included 171 adolescents (12 to 18 y of age) with chronic pain who completed a hospital-based outpatient pediatric pain rehabilitation program. Participants completed measures of functional disability, depressive symptoms, pain catastrophizing, opioid use, school attendance, and pain severity at admission, discharge, and at 3-month follow-up.

Results:

Similar to other interdisciplinary pediatric pain rehabilitation program outcome studies, significant improvements were observed at the end of the program. These improvements appeared to be maintained or further improved at 3-month follow-up. Nearly 14% of the patients were taking daily opioid medication at admission to the program. All adolescents were completely tapered off of these medications at the end of the 3-week program and remained abstinent at 3-month follow-up.

Discussion:

This study adds to the available data supporting interdisciplinary pediatric pain rehabilitation as effective in improving functioning and psychological distress even when discontinuing opioids. Implications for future research and limitations of the study are discussed.

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