Objectives: Depression and anxiety are commonly seen in patients with chronic pain which affects the patient's daily life functioning. Although considerable attention has been devoted to explain why depression and anxiety are frequent comorbid with chronic pain, little empirical work has been conducted on interventions that target depression and anxiety and chronic pain. The present study was designed to test an individualized cognitive-behavioral treatment delivered through the internet for persons with chronic pain and emotional distress.
Materials and methods: A total of 52 patients with chronic pain and depression were included and randomized to either treatment for 8 weeks or to a control group that participated in a moderated online discussion forum.
Results: Intent-to-treat analyses showed significant decreases regarding depressive symptoms and pain disability in the treatment group. Results on the primary outcomes of depression and anxiety were in favor of the treatment group. Reductions were also found on pain catastrophizing.
Discussion: One-year follow-up showed maintenance of improvements. We conclude that an individualized guided internet-delivered treatment based on cognitive-behavior therapy can be effective for persons with chronic pain comorbid emotional distress.