Authors of a new observational study from the Netherlands say that taking a multidisciplinary approach to chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) can not only result in short-term improvements, but seems to be beneficial even 2 years after a rehabilitation program has ended—particularly in terms of reducing health care provider usage and increasing patient working hours.
For the study, published online in Musculoskeletal Care, researchers followed a group of 165 patients with CMP who participated in a 15-week multidisciplinary rehabilitation program that involved cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), education, individual and group exercise, relaxation, and hydrotherapy. The program was provided by a team that included a rehab physician, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a social worker, and a psychologist.
According to authors, an earlier study of the program had already established positive outcomes for pain and function at discharge; their study was focused on assessments of pain, function, fatigue, and other factors 12 and 24 months postdischarge. Participants were 87% female, with an average age of 44.1. The most-cited location of CMP was the back (71%), followed by shoulders (60%), neck (52%), and upper legs/knees (48%).