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Millions for pain rehabilitation research

Björn Gerdle

Björn Gerdle

Pain is the most common reason for people to seek care. Pain researcher Björn Gerdle’s research team has just been granted five million SEK (541,000 EUR) to research the effects of various rehabilitation programmes and a further 2.5 million SEK (271,000 EUR) to research whether rehabilitation can be strengthened through using the Internet.

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKE), in collaboration with the Pain and Rehabilitation Centre in Linköping University Hospital, has twice been granted project funds from the Vårdal Foundation’s REHSAM campaign (www.vardal.se) to develop the rehabilitation of patients with long-standing pain.

Pain is the most common reason for people to seek care. Long-standing pain usually implies heavy suffering. This kind of complex situation requires broad, co-ordinated treatment measures lasting several weeks. Scientific literature shows that what is known as multi-modal rehabilitation – a resource-intensive effort where the patient is handled by a team of a physiotherapist, behavioural scientist, and doctor, for example – has good effects on the various consequences of long-standing pain. But the effects can be further improved, and a broader supply of evidence-based multi-modal rehabilitation measures is desirable.

Normally, multi-modal rehabilitation is arranged by a team of staff. But this is not always possible. There is, therefore, a need to develop multi-modal rehabilitation programmes supplied by a treatment specialist. In the first project, which was recently granted five million SEK (541,000 EUR), a simplified multi-modal pedagogical rehabilitation programme based on a form of cognitive behavioural therapy (ACT-SMI) is compared with a rehabilitation programme primarily based on physical activation and exercise.

In the MerIt project, which was granted 2.5 million SEK (271,000 EUR) in February, they are testing whether the effects of multi-modal rehabilitation can be strengthened through Internet use. In the project, a well-functioning multi-modal rehabilitation programme is compared with a situation where the patient also has access through the Internet, outside the rehabilitation program, to efforts that increase motivation and support for maintaining the results after going through the programme. If Internet access leads to positive results, it will be offered to all patients participating in the rehabilitation programmes at the Pain and Rehabilitation Center.

The project leader for both projects is professor and clinic head Björn Gerdle. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Professor Gerhard Andersson from the Department of Behavioural Sciences and Leaning (IBL). Senior lecturer Britt Larsson from IKE, and senior lecturer Anders Tengström from Karolinska Institutet, are also part of the first project.


Therese Winder 2010-10-05




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Last updated: 2010-11-23