The Journal of Pain Summary
Highlight from The Journal of Pain (Volume 19, No. 7, July 2018 Issue)
Randomized Controlled Trial of Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Fibromyalgia
Heather D. Simister, Gregg A. Tkachuk, Barbara L. Shay, Norah Vincent, Joseph J. Pear, Ryan Q. Skrabek
- Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
- Department of Clinical Health Psychology, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- Pan Am Pain Clinic, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
- Department of Physical Therapy, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- Section of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Canadian researchers writing in The Journal of Pain reported that fibromyalgia patients participating in online acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and treatment as usual (TAU) showed significant improvement in primary disease outcomes (e.g., depression, pain, sleep and pain acceptance) compared with TAU alone.
ACT is a newer intervention within cognitive-behavioral therapy that relies on mindfulness and acceptance strategies. In contrast with traditional interventions, ACT aims to facilitate the development of psychological flexibility through six interrelated processes: acceptance, contact with the present moment, cognitive diffusion, self as context, connecting with personal values, and willingness and commitment. In several randomized controlled studies, ACT has been shown to reduce the negative impact of fibromyalgia on function. The researchers here sought to evaluate, for the first time, the efficacy of an online ACT protocol for fibromyalgia. They hypothesized that subjects treated with online ACT and TAU would improve significantly on the primary measures of fibromyalgia compared to TAU control group.
Sixty-seven participants with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to an ACT and TAU protocol or a TAU control group. Study subjects completed the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire and a battery of self-report measures to assess disease impact.
Results showed that online ACT significantly reduced fibromyalgia impact relative to TAU, and 70% of online ACT participants being classified as treatment responders. The authors concluded their study shows that individuals with fibromyalgia may benefit from online ACT with minimal additional monitoring. Further, the study results showed that effective treatment can be delivered more cost effectively to those who otherwise would not be able to access it.