Cognitive-Behavioral TherapyElectronic MediaExercisePain

Telephone-delivered CBT and exercise to treat chronic widespread pain

Researchers at the University of Manchester, in the UK, studied the clinical impact of telephone-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exercise alone vs both for patients with chronic widespread pain.

First, the details.

  • 442 patients with chronic widespread pain were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 6 months.
    • Telephone-delivered CBT
    • Graded exercise
    • Telephone-delivered CBT + exercise
    • Treatment as usual
  • A 7-point patient global assessment scale of change in health since study enrollment (range: very much worse to very much better) was used to assess the patients at baseline, at the end of the study, and 9 months after starting the study.
  • A positive outcome was defined as “much better” or “very much better.”

And, the results.

  • Positive outcomes at 6 and 9 months, respectively, were recorded for the following.
    • Treatment as usual group, 8% and 8%
    • Telephone-delivered CBT groups, 30% and 33%
    • Exercise group, 35% and 24%
    • Telephone-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy + exercise, 37% and 37% (all treatments were significantly better than the start of the study)
  • At 6 and 9 months, telephone-delivered CBT + exercise was associated with improvements in the 36-Item Short Form Health Questionnaire physical component score and a reduction in passive coping strategies.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Telephone-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy was associated with substantial, statistically significant, and sustained improvements in patient global assessment.”

It’s all about the follow-up.

11/27/11 21:16 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.