Integrative medicine for chronic pain A cohort study using a process-outcome design in the context of a department for internal and integrative medicine Felix J. Saha (MD)a, Alexander Brüninga, Cyrus Barcelonaa, Arndt Büssing (MD)b, Jost Langhorst (MD)a, ∗ Gustav Dobos (MD)a, Romy Lauche (PhD)a,c, Holger Cramer (PhD)a,c, Abstract Introduction: Integrative medicine inpatient treatment has been shown to improve physical and mental health in patients with
internal medicine conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a 2-week integrative medicine inpatient treatment in patients with chronic pain syndromes and the association of treatment success with patient-related process variables. Methods: Inpatients with chronic pain syndromes participating in a 2-week integrative medicine inpatient program were included. Patients’ pain intensity, pain disability, pain perception, quality of life, depression, and perceived stress were measured on admission, discharge, and 6 months after discharge. Likewise process variables including ability and will to change, emotional/rational disease acceptance, mindfulness, life and health satisfaction, and easiness of life were assessed. Results: A total of 310 inpatients (91% female, mean age 50.7 ± 12.4 year, 26.5% low back pain, and 22.9% ﬁbromyalgia) were
included. Using mixed linear models, signiﬁcant improvements in pain intensity, pain disability, pain perception, quality of life, depression, and perceived stress were found (all P < 0.05). Ability to change and implementation, disease acceptance, mindfulness, life and health satisfaction, and light heartedness/easiness likewise improved (all P < 0.05). Improved outcomes were associated with increases in process variables, mainly ability to change and implementation, disease acceptance, life and health satisfaction, and light heartedness/easiness (R2 = 0.03–0.40). Conclusions: Results of this study suggest that a 2-week integrative medicine inpatient treatment can beneﬁt patients with chronic pain conditions. Functional improvements are associated with improved ability to change and implementation, disease acceptance, and satisfaction. Abbreviations: BDI = beck depression inventory, BMLSS = brief multidimensional life satisfaction scale, CPSC = conscious
presence and self control, ERDA = emotional/rational disease acceptance, ICD = international classiﬁcation of diseases, PDI = pain disability index, PLC = positive life construction, PPS = pain perception scale, PSS = perceived stress scale, RDA = rational disease acceptance, RGF = rejection of guilt/failure, RIDI = rejection of an irrational dealing with disease, SF-36 = short form (36) health survey, STROBE = strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology, UCD = understanding the causes of disease, USA = united states of america, VAS = visual analog scale.
Keywords: integrative medicine, internal medicine, pain
Editor: Kazuo Hanaoka.
Integrative medicine is deﬁned as medicine that “reafﬁrms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.” Integrative medicine incorporates all appropriate therapeutic approaches by all healthcare providers from both, conventional and complementary medicine, that are likely to improve an individual patient’s health status. Chronic pain, mainly of musculoskeletal origin, is the main reason for which patients use integrative medicine approaches.[3–5] The development of chronic pain is normally regarded to be caused by both, somatic and psychosocial factors[6,7]; thus multimodal approaches incorporating conventional somatic pain treatment as well as psychosocial, behavioral, and lifestyle-based interventions are recommended for chronic and therapy-refractory pain syndromes. Integrative pain treatment involves multimodal and complex interventions that strongly depend on the relationship between
AB and CB contributed equally to this article. No external funding was received for this study.The authors declare no conﬂicts of interests. a Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, b Center for Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Witten/Herdecke, Herdecke, Germany, c Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia. ∗
Correspondence: Dr. Holger Cramer, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Klinik für Naturheilkunde und Integrative Medizin, Knappschafts-Krankenhaus, Am Deimelsberg 34a, 45276 Essen, Germany (e-mail: [email protected]
Copyright © 2016 the Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CCBY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Medicine (2016) 95:27(e4152) Received: 12 May 2016 / Received in ﬁnal form: 9 June 2016 / Accepted: 14 June 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000004152
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participate in this study. Written informed consent was obtained. The Department was established as a model clinic in 1999 to treat patients with chronic diseases, including those with chronic pain syndromes. Referrals come from specialist and general practitioners, with treatment costs being met by statutory health insurance and many private health insurance companies.
therapists and patients, the patients’ expectations, and motivations. Patients in integrative medicine settings are perceived as actively contributing to their own healing process, thus integrative medicine treatments are especially effective when the patients’ health-related cognitions and coping skills change during treatment. Lifestyle management, such as changing the patients’ dietary, stress management, and exercise habits, are a major part of these treatment approaches. Thus motivating the patients to adopt a healthier lifestyle during treatment and to maintaining it after discharge is an important predictor of treatment success.[10,11] The Department for Internal and Integrative Medicine at Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Germany, the University of DuisburgEssen’s academic teaching hospital, was established in 1999 as a governmentally funded model institution. Developed as an integrative medicine inpatient ward from the beginning, the hospital combines conventional medicine, complementary medicine, and mind/body medicine to treat patients with chronic internal medicine diseases.[5,10,12,13] Prior studies have shown positive effects of the inpatient treatment on physical and mental health in mixed patients groups. Chronic and therapyrefractory pain is a major reason for referral. The aim of this cohort study using a process-outcome design was to investigate the effects of a 2-week integrative medicine inpatient treatment at the Department for Internal and Integrative Medicine on chronic pain. A further aim was to investigate the association of treatment success with patient-related process variables, such as ability and motivation for behavioral changes, disease acceptance, and health satisfaction.
2.3. Intervention Patients received 2 weeks of integrative inpatient hospital treatment; following individual treatment plans developed from extensive anamneses by physicians, nurses, and mind/body therapists. Treatments included conventional diagnostic and interventional medical approaches, including physiotherapy, and the use of complementary techniques. The latter included the use of traditional medicine (Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, cupping, leeching, etc) and classical naturopathy (hydrotherapy, thermotherapy, manual therapy, massage, phytotherapy, exercise, nutritional therapy, and fasting). Patients also received several mind/body therapy sessions, focusing on exercise, stress reduction, diet, and self-help, to empower them to adopt healthy lifestyles. These sessions were based on Harvard Medical School’s Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine Program and the University of Massachusetts’ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program.[17,18] Elements of cognitive restructuring were also added in this study.[19,20] 2.4. Outcome measures Visual Analog Scales (VAS). Current pain, mean pain intensity and most severe pain intensity during the past 4 weeks were measured on 100-mm VAS ranging from 0 (no pain at all) to 100 (worst pain imaginable). Pain Perception Scale (PPS). The PPS measures subjectively felt pain on 2 scales: affective pain and sensory pain by 24 items. Pain Disability Index (PDI). The PDI assesses in how far speciﬁc aspects of a person’s life are disrupted by chronic pain by. Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36). Patients’ health-related quality of life was assessed using the 36-item short form of the health survey questionnaire (SF-36). This tool measures an individual’s quality of life on 8 dimensions and 2 main component scales (physical and mental). It has proven validity and reliability. Each scale ranges from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating higher quality of life. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Depression was assessed by the 21-item BDI. Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Self-perceived stress level in speciﬁc situations during the last month was assessed on the 10-item German version of the PSS.
2. Methods 2.1. Design Where applicable, this study is reported in accordance with the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology statement.[14,15] Effects of the integrative medicine inpatient treatment were investigated in a prospective single-arm cohort study. Outcome measures were assessed in all participants at admission, at discharge, and 6 months after the end of the inpatient treatment. At 6 months, patients received the respective questionnaires and a franked envelope by mail and were asked to ﬁll in the questionnaire and return it by mail as soon as possible. Problems or questions regarding the questionnaires were solved by phone. Outcome measures included pain intensity, pain-related disability, health-related quality of life, depression, and subjective stress. Furthermore, process variables including ability and will to change, disease acceptance, mindfulness, life and health satisfaction, and easiness of life were assessed. Associations of changes between outcome measures and process variables were analyzed. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Duisburg-Essen (approval number: 13–5393-BO) and registered at Clinicaltrials.gov (identiﬁer: NCT02038244) before patient recruitment.
2.5. Process variables Ability and will to Change Questionnaire. This new instrument addresses a person’s ability to perceive that changing certain aspects in life might be beneﬁcial to get better with the health situation; their intention to change aspects in their life and behavior; whether or not they have already begun to change life and behavior on the one hand; and the successfully developed strategies how to better deal with health problems. Factor analysis pointed to 2 factors, that is, “Perception and Intention to Change” (5 items; Cronbach’s alpha = .75) and “Ability to Change and Implementation (4 items; Cronbach’s alpha = .77; manuscript in preparation).
2.2. Sample and setting All patient’s with an ICD-10 diagnosis of a chronic pain condition (ie, spinal pain, ﬁbromyalgia, headache, osteoarthritis, arthritis, or other chronic pain conditions) who were referred to inpatient treatment at the Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany between January 2013 and July 2014 were invited to 2
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Emotional/Rational Disease Acceptance (ERDA). The ERDA measures emotional and rational acceptance of a disease on 3 emotional scales (Positive Life Construction, Contentedness, Well Being; Rejection/Irrational Dealing with Illness; and Rejection of Guilt/Failure), and 2 rational scales (Rational Disease Acceptance and Understanding the Causes of Disease). Conscious Presence and Self Control (CPSC). The CPSC is a modiﬁed short form of the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, measuring mindfulness or situational awareness by 10 items on a 4-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (rarely) to 3 (almost always). Brief Multidimensional Life Satisfaction Scale (BMLSS). The BMLSS measures life satisfaction in four domains: intrinsic (myself, overall life), social (friendships, family life), external (work, where I live), and perspective (ﬁnancial situation, future prospects). Two additional items assess health-related satisfaction. Lightheartedness/easiness. Several patients with chronic diseases experience an affected functional, emotional, and social well being, which may result in a self-protective “emotional withdrawal.” The intention was to make measurable distinct (emotional and behavioral) attitudes associated with a revival of vitality and zest of life, that is, positive internal attitudes, such as “light heartedness/ easiness” and subsequent “social interest/contact” to external contacts. These attitudes are seen in the context of an increasing positive health/well being. The 9-item instrument differentiates two factors, light heartedness/easiness (5 items; alpha = .77), and social interest/contact (4 items; alpha = 0.79). The scale light heartedness/ easiness was strongly associated with positive mood (r = .61), satisfaction with daily life management (r = 0.53), satisfaction with health situation (r = 0.50), with the mental component of SF-12’s health-related quality of life (r = 0.50), and moderately with general life satisfaction (r = 0.47).[30,31]
Table 1 Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics at admission (n = 310). Variable Sociodemographic characteristics Age, y Gender Female BMI, kg/m2 Family status Single With partner/married Divorced, separated, widowed Education