This article was originally published here
Med pain. March 21, 2022: pnac049. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnac049. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Societal and healthcare system pressures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the burden of chronic pain and limited access to pain management services for many. Online multidisciplinary pain programs offer an effective and scalable treatment option, but have not been evaluated in the context of COVID-19. This study aimed to investigate the adoption and effectiveness of the Reboot Online chronic pain program before and during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
METHODS: Retrospective cohort analyzes were conducted on routine service users of the Reboot Online program, comparing those who started the program during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020-March 2021) to those before the pandemic (April 2017-March 2020). Results included the number of course enrolments; beginnings; completion rate; and measures of pain severity, interference, self-efficacy, pain-related disability and distress.
RESULTS: Data from 2585 course users were included (n=1138 pre-COVID-19 and n=1447 during COVID-19). There has been a 287% increase in monthly course registrations during COVID-19, compared to previously. Users were younger and more likely to reside in a metropolitan area during COVID-19, but baseline symptom severity was comparable. Course compliance and efficacy were similar before and during COVID-19, with moderate effect size improvements in post-treatment clinical outcomes (g = 0.23-0.55).
DISCUSSION: Adoption of an online chronic pain management program has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adherence and program effectiveness were similar before and during COVID. These results confirm the effectiveness and scalability of online chronic pain management programs to meet growing demand.