Background: Despite demonstrated efficacy of psychological interventions, predominantly cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), in the treatment of people with chronic pain, access to these effective, evidence-based interventions is limited. Internet-based CBT (iCBT) has emerged as an innovative approach to address these treatment barriers. An internet- delivered psychological pain management programme, the Pain Course, was developed and empirically tested in Australia. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the efficacy of this clinician-guided iCBT programme for adults with chronic pain living in Ireland.
Methods: A total of 133 individuals were randomly assigned to either a Treatment Group or wait-list Control Group. The Pain Course comprised 5 internet-delivered lessons, released sequentially over an 8-week period. The programme also included homework tasks, additional resources, weekly clinician contact via e-mail or telephone, and automated e- mails. The primary outcome was pain-related disability as measured by the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ). The secondary outcomes were depression, anxiety, average pain, and treatment satisfaction. The online measurements were conducted pre- and post-treatment, and at 3-months follow-up.
Results: All 5 lessons were completed by 80% of the Treatment Group. Improvements were significantly greater for Treatment Group participants compared to the Control Group in levels of disability, anxiety, depression, and average pain levels at post-treatment. Over 80% of participants rated the programme as highly acceptable. Clinician contact per participant was 81.29 minutes (SD = 2.36).
Conclusion: The findings of the current study add to the existing literature and are broadly in line with previous trials of the Pain Course.