Meeting them where they are: Using the Internet to deliver behavioral medicine interventions for pain

Transl Behav Med. 2012 Mar;2(1):82-92. doi: 10.1007/s13142-011-0107-2.


Pharmacological and interventional pain medicine treatments are emphasized in the routine treatment of chronic pain despite strong evidence for the efficacy and safety of behavioral approaches. Most medical professionals have not incorporated behavioral pain treatments into their practices. Internet-based interventions have the potential to increase clinical use of these treatments. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current Internet-based behavioral pain management interventions, focusing on three broad intervention categories: therapist-guided interventions, unguided (automated) interventions, and pain-relevant applications for mobile platforms. Examples of each category are discussed, revealing a high degree of variation in approaches, user interfaces, and components as well as variability in the degree to which these interventions have been subjected to empirical testing. Finally, we highlight key issues for research and clinical implementation, with the goal of advancing this field so that it can meet its potential to increase access to evidence-based behavioral medicine treatments for chronic pain.

Keywords: Behavioral medicine; Chronic pain; Cognitive-behavioral therapy; Internet-based interventions; eHealth; mHealth.

Publication types

  • Review