MS Patients Sought to Test Alternative Chronic Pain Treatment Methods

MS Patients Sought to Test Alternative Chronic Pain Treatment Methods

A clinical trial funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is recruiting adult patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) to test two non-pharmacological strategies to manage MS-related chronic pain.

The trial (NCT03782246) will be conducted at the University of Washington, and plans to enroll about 250 participants across the United States who have been diagnosed with MS and also have chronic pain.

Pain is a common symptom experienced by many patients with MS. It can be very debilitating and severely affect patients’ daily lives. Chronic pain also is associated with sleep disruption, depression, and poorer health.

Pharmacological products can be used to ease pain, however, they often don’t offer complete pain relief and can cause unwanted side effects.

Alternative strategies, such as exercising, hydrotherapy, or acupuncture, have been beneficial in easing pain.

In this trial researchers will evaluate the potential of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to reduce MS-associated pain and other symptoms. They also will test if these alternative treatments can be given effectively through videoconference.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy designed to improve self-awareness and reduce inaccurate or negative thinking. Such an approach can allow a person to perceive challenging situations more clearly and to respond to them more easily and effectively.

Previous studies have shown that CBT can reduce pain intensity in people with MS.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a different non-pharmacological therapy that integrates mindfulness meditation within a CBT-oriented strategy. This combined approach is believed to help prevent unhelpful thoughts and behaviors, but also to improve attentional control and meditative behavior.

According to a National MS Society press release, the trial will enroll adult patients (18 or older) with any type of MS who have had daily pain for more than three months, with an average pain intensity greater than 3 on the 0-10 numerical rating scale.

All participants need to have access to and be able to communicate by telephone and in English. Because the treatments will be conducted by videoconference, they also have to have access to a computer or digital device with internet access.

Participants will be assigned randomly to receive CBT, MBCT, or to continue their usual care for pain and MS. The interventions will be delivered in weekly sessions of 90-minutes, with groups of six to eight participants. During the sessions, patients will see and hear one another, and also will have access to visual information such as slides.

The intervention will be performed for a total of eight weeks, and between each session participants will be asked to practice the new learned skills.

Those who receive the usual care will have the opportunity to receive the intervention later.

The effects of the different treatment strategies in pain intensity, sleep disturbances, fatigue, physical function, and depressive symptoms will be reported by telephone.

To learn more about the study and how to participate, contact the research team via email at [email protected] or by telephone at (855) 320-8230.

6 comments

  1. Re-Alternative Chronic Pain Treatment.
    Good morning MS Society
    I have Primary Progressive MS and suffer with extremely bad neauropathic pain and am hoping that there will be a similar trial held here in Sydney. So hoping you are able to help me please?
    Kind Regards
    Janine Abbott.

  2. Skaidrite Roper says:

    Janine I live in Sydney Australia and have Primary Progressive MS. Regular Acupuncture treatment has helped to relieve the constant MS pain I experience.

  3. Good morning Skaidrite
    Thank you for your reply to try to help but I have tried acupuncture from a few different specialists in this field, one in Fairfield, one in the MacArthur area and one in Sydney in the city itself and after each session I had extremely bad reactions of nausea and a feeling that I was going to faint. The one in the city was so bad I had to find somewhere in a food court with a padded bench seat to lay down and one of the staff there could see there was a problem and brought me a glass of water. After all this I had no relief from my pain, but everyone is different, I have had several treatments at the Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick in Sydney with an infusion of Ketamine starting at a low dose and gradually increasing the dosage over a 5-7 day period and this does give me relief for a few months.

  4. Linda Fitch says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I would like to know how much this study is costing the MS society? Who proposed this study? And what research justifies it? In my estimation it has been only very recently doctors including neurologists, and the MS society have admitted that MS is a Painful condition. Certainly in my MS struggle, since (2003 diagnosed) they have started to try to help. Many lone fellow strugglers have tried everything under the sun for relief, including acupuncture, hydrotherapy, yoga antidepressants pychotherapy, behavioral therapy because we were told MS did not cause pain but our reaction to it did! I would like the society to “meditatate” to how better to educate health care professionals on the fact of pain in MS, developing medications to treat it or enabling Doctors to prescribe it without government interference, or maybe assistance to people to help pay high co pays so they can stay on their DPTS.
    Again, it might just be me but I don’t need help being talked out of my pain using 90 min of precious energy I need; I need help taking enough edge off of my pain so I can excercise, go to social events, engage with my family, do household chores, sleep a full night, do the hobbies that I used to love. How about that?

    • Janet Gordon says:

      I’m with Linda Fitch.
      Rather than talk me out of my pain, I’d rather you find a tool to eliminate it, or keep it in check.
      My pain is real. Its every day and it interferes with every single thing I do, every single step I take.

  5. Kristen says:

    I totally understand . I have lived with the mean nasty disease fir 23 years. I never needed or wanted to take and pain meds . In the last 10 years I had to do something to ease this nasty pain . I have no quality of life now because my treating Dr. From day one no longer can prescribe the pain meds. So now I can barely walk have no quality of life and can’t drive . I’m too young to live this way . I used to be active and for the most part happy. Now I just lie around and oh yeah that’s really going to improve the nerve damage. This is a cruel joke. I’d like to see who ever decided to block my Dr. From helping me with some quality of life live like this , they wouldn’t be too happy either. I don’t know what to do and sorry physical therapy doesn’t take this nerve pain away no matter how many times I do it. If there is anyone that can change the laws to help us who are suffering please let me know. Not only does it hurt me but my family as well.

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