People who suffer from chronic pain may also experience depression. A new study suggests that when patients have greater control of their therapy it is likely to produce better outcomes. Veterans with pain in the low back, hips or knees were randomized to either usual care or a special intervention. This treatment consisted of individually tailored antidepressant therapy for three months followed by six sessions of pain self-management training over the next three months. They included strategies for physical activity, muscle relaxation, deep breathing, distraction, getting a good night’s sleep and coping with fear. The intervention group had substantially better scores on both the depression and pain assessment scales at the end of a year compared to those receiving usual care.
[JAMA May 27, 2009]