Darnall BD, Sturgeon JA, Kao M-C, Hah JM, Mackey SC. From Catastrophizing to Recovery: a pilot study of a single-session treatment for pain catastrophizing. J. Pain Res. 2014;7:219-226.
BACKGROUND: Pain catastrophizing (PC) - a pattern of negative cognitive-emotional responses to real or anticipated pain - maintains chronic pain and undermines medical treatments. Standard PC treatment involves multiple sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy. To provide efficient treatment, we developed a single-session, 2-hour class that solely treats PC entitled “From Catastrophizing to Recovery” [FCR]. OBJECTIVES: To determine 1) feasibility of FCR; 2) participant ratings for acceptability, understandability, satisfaction, and likelihood to use the information learned; and 3) preliminary efficacy of FCR for reducing PC. DESIGN AND METHODS: Uncontrolled prospective pilot trial with a retrospective chart and database review component. Seventy-six patients receiving care at an outpatient pain clinic (the Stanford Pain Management Center) attended the class as free treatment and 70 attendees completed and returned an anonymous survey immediately post-class. The Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) was administered at class check-in (baseline) and at 2, and 4 weeks post-treatment. Within subjects repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Student s t-test contrasts were used to compare scores across time points. RESULTS: All attendees who completed a baseline PCS were included as study participants (N=57; F=82%; mean age =50.2 years); PCS was completed by 46 participants at week 2 and 35 participants at week 4. Participants had significantly reduced PC at both time points (P\textless0001) and large effect sizes were found (Cohen s d=0.85 and d=1.15). CONCLUSION: Preliminary data suggest that FCR is an acceptable and effective treatment for PC. Larger, controlled studies of longer duration are needed to determine durability of response, factors contributing to response, and the impact on pain, function and quality of life.
Chapin HL, Darnall BD, Seppala EM, Doty JR, Hah JM, Mackey SC. Pilot study of a compassion meditation intervention in chronic pain. J Compassionate Health Care. 2014;1(1):1-12.
BACKGROUND: The emergence of anger as an important predictor of chronic pain outcomes suggests that treatments that target anger may be particularly useful within the context of chronic pain. Eastern traditions prescribe compassion cultivation to treat persistent anger. Compassion cultivation has been shown to influence emotional processing and reduce negativity bias in the contexts of emotional and physical discomfort, thus suggesting it may be beneficial as a dual treatment for pain and anger. Our objective was to conduct a pilot study of a 9-week group compassion cultivation intervention in chronic pain to examine its effect on pain severity, anger, pain acceptance and pain-related interference. We also aimed to describe observer ratings provided by patients significant others and secondary effects of the intervention. METHODS: Pilot clinical trial with repeated measures design that included a within-subjects wait-list control period. Twelve chronic pain patients completed the intervention (F= 10). Data were collected from patients at enrollment, treatment baseline and post-treatment; participant significant others contributed data at the enrollment and post-treatment time points. RESULTS: In this predominantly female sample, patients had significantly reduced pain severity and anger and increased pain acceptance at post-treatment compared to treatment baseline. Significant other qualitative data corroborated patient reports for reductions in pain severity and anger. CONCLUSIONS: Compassion meditation may be a useful adjunctive treatment for reducing pain severity and anger, and for increasing chronic pain acceptance. Patient reported reductions in anger were corroborated by their significant others. The significant other corroborations offer a novel contribution to the literature and highlight the observable emotional and behavioral changes in the patient participants that occurred following the compassion intervention. Future studies may further examine how anger reductions impact relationships with self and others within the context of chronic pain.
INTRODUCTION: The Neuromodulation Appropriateness Consensus Committee (NACC) of the International Neuromodulation Society (INS) evaluated evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of neurostimulation to treat chronic pain, chronic critical limb ischemia, and refractory angina and recommended appropriate clinical applications. METHODS: The NACC used literature reviews, expert opinion, clinical experience, and individual research. Authors consulted the Practice Parameters for the Use of Spinal Cord Stimulation in the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain (2006), systematic reviews (1984 to 2013), and prospective and randomized controlled trials (2005 to 2013) identified through PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar. RESULTS: Neurostimulation is relatively safe because of its minimally invasive and reversible characteristics. Comparison with medical management is difficult, as patients considered for neurostimulation have failed conservative management. Unlike alternative therapies, neurostimulation is not associated with medication-related side effects and has enduring effect. Device-related complications are not uncommon; however, the incidence is becoming less frequent as technology progresses and surgical skills improve. Randomized controlled studies support the efficacy of spinal cord stimulation in treating failed back surgery syndrome and complex regional pain syndrome. Similar studies of neurostimulation for peripheral neuropathic pain, postamputation pain, postherpetic neuralgia, and other causes of nerve injury are needed. International guidelines recommend spinal cord stimulation to treat refractory angina; other indications, such as congestive heart failure, are being investigated. CONCLUSIONS: Appropriate neurostimulation is safe and effective in some chronic pain conditions. Technological refinements and clinical evidence will continue to expand its use. The NACC seeks to facilitate the efficacy and safety of neurostimulation.
Hah JM, Mackey S, Barelka PL, et al. Self-loathing aspects of depression reduce postoperative opioid cessation rate. Pain Med. 2014;15(6):954-964.
OBJECTIVE: We previously reported that increased preoperative Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) scores were associated with a 47% (95% CI 24%-64%) reduction in the rate of opioid cessation following surgery. We aimed to identify the underlying factors of the BDI-II (affective/cognitive vs somatic) associated with a decreased rate of opioid cessation after surgery. METHODS: We conducted a secondary analysis of the data from a previously reported prospective, longitudinal, observational study of opioid use after five distinct surgical procedures (total hip replacement, total knee replacement, thoracotomy, mastectomy, and lumpectomy) in 107 patients. The primary endpoint was time to opioid cessation. After exploratory factor analysis of the BDI-II, mean summary scores were calculated for each identified factor. These scores were evaluated as predictors of time to opioid cessation using Cox proportional hazards regression. RESULTS: The exploratory factor analysis produced three factors (self-loathing symptoms, motivational symptoms, emotional symptoms). All three factors were significant predictors in univariate analysis. Of the three identified factors of the BDI-II, only preoperative self-loathing symptoms (past failure, guilty feelings, self-dislike, self-criticalness, suicidal thoughts, worthlessness) independently predicted a significant decrease in opioid cessation rate after surgery in the multivariate analysis (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.75-0.99, P value 0.037). CONCLUSIONS: Our results identify a set of negative cognitions predicting prolonged time to postoperative opioid cessation. Somatic symptoms captured by the BDI-II were not primarily responsible for the association between preoperative BDI-II scores and postoperative prolonged opioid use.
PURPOSE: The pathophysiology of interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome remains incompletely understood but is thought to involve central disturbance in the processing of pain and viscerosensory signals. We identified differences in brain activity and connectivity between female patients with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome and healthy controls to advance clinical phenotyping and treatment efforts for interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined oscillation dynamics of intrinsic brain activity in a large sample of well phenotyped female patients with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome and female healthy controls. Data were collected during 10-minute resting functional magnetic resonance imaging as part of the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain Research Network project. The blood oxygen level dependent signal was transformed to the frequency domain. Relative power was calculated for multiple frequency bands. RESULTS: Results demonstrated altered frequency distributions in viscerosensory (post insula), somatosensory (postcentral gyrus) and motor regions (anterior paracentral lobule, and medial and ventral supplementary motor areas) in patients with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. Also, the anterior paracentral lobule, and medial and ventral supplementary motor areas showed increased functional connectivity to the midbrain (red nucleus) and cerebellum. This increased functional connectivity was greatest in patients who reported pain during bladder filling. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that women with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome have a sensorimotor component to the pathological condition involving an alteration in intrinsic oscillations and connectivity in a cortico-cerebellar network previously associated with bladder function.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a technique that uses blood oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signals to elucidate discrete areas of neuronal activity. Despite the significant number of fMRI human brain studies, few researchers have applied fMRI technology to investigating neuronal activity within the human spinal cord. Our study goals were to demonstrate that fMRI could reveal the following: (i) appropriate somatotopic activations in response to noxious stimuli in the deep and superficial dorsal horn of the human cervical spinal cord, and (ii) lateralization of fMRI activations in response to noxious stimulation in the right and left upper extremity. We subjected healthy participants to noxious stimulation during fMRI scans. Using a spiral in-out image sequence and retrospective correction for physiologic noise, we demonstrated that fMRI can create high-resolution, neuronal activation maps of the human cervical spinal cord. During nociceptive stimulation of all 4 sites (left deltoid, right deltoid, left thenar eminence and right thenar eminence), we found ipsilateral dorsal horn activation. Stimulation of the deltoid activated C5, whereas stimulation of the thenar eminence activated C6. Our study contributes to creating an objective analysis of pain transmission; other investigators can use these results to further study central nervous system changes that occur in patients with acute and chronic pain.