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Papers: 7 Mar 2020 - 13 Mar 2020


2020 Mar 05

Psychol Serv

Complementary and integrative health approaches to manage chronic pain in U.S. military populations: Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis, 1985-2019.


Donahue ML, Dunne EM, Gathright EC, DeCosta J, Balletto BL, Jamison RN, Carey MP, Scott-Sheldon LAJ
Psychol Serv. 2020 Mar 05.
PMID: 32134305.


The objective of this study was to examine the efficacy of complementary and integrative health (CIH) approaches for reducing pain intensity (primary outcome) and depressive symptoms (secondary outcome) as well as improving physical functioning (secondary outcome) among U.S. military personnel living with chronic pain. Studies were retrieved from bibliographic databases, databases of funded research, and reference sections of relevant articles. Studies that (a) evaluated a CIH approach to promote chronic pain management among military personnel, (b) used a randomized controlled trial design, and (c) assessed pain intensity were included. Two coders extracted data from each study and calculated effect sizes. Discrepancies between coders were resolved through discussion. Comprehensive searches identified 12 studies (k = 15 interventions) that met inclusion criteria. CIH practices included cognitive-behavioral therapies (k = 5), positive psychology (k = 3), yoga (k = 2), acupuncture (k = 2), mindfulness-based interventions (k = 2), and biofeedback (k = 1). Across these studies, participants who received the intervention reported greater reductions in pain intensity (d+ = 0.44, 95% CI [0.21, 0.67], k = 15) compared to controls. Statistically significant improvements were also observed for physical functioning (d+ = 0.36, 95% CI [0.11, 0.61], k = 11) but not for depressive symptoms (d+ = 0.21, 95% CI [-0.15, 0.57], k = 8). CIH approaches reduced pain intensity and improved physical functioning. These approaches offer a nonpharmacological, nonsurgical intervention for chronic pain management for military personnel. Future studies should optimize interventions to improve depressive symptoms in military populations experiencing chronic pain. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).