Effects of a self-guided, web-based activity programme for patients with persistent musculoskeletal pain in primary healthcare: A randomized controlled trial


  • Funding sources

    This article is included in a research project entitled Effects of a web Behaviour Change Program for Activity (Web-BCPA) for persistent pain in primary health care, being a joint project between Luleå University of Technology and Region Norrbotten, Sweden. The project is part of the national research project REHSAM (REHabilitering och SAMordning) in Sweden, and is financed by REHSAM. The REHSAM project is a cooperation between the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, and the Vårdal Foundation.

  • Conflicts of interest

    None declared.

  • Trial registration:

    The Clinical Trial Registry of the U.S. National Institute of Health (NCT01475591).



Web-based interventions for pain management are increasingly used with possible benefits, but never used in addition to multimodal rehabilitation (MMR). MMR is recommended treatment for persistent pain in Sweden. The aim was to evaluate the effects of a self-guided, web-based programme added to MMR for work ability, pain, disability and health-related quality of life.


We included 99 participants with persistent musculoskeletal pain in a randomized study with two intervention arms: (1) MMR and web-based intervention, and (2) MMR. Data was collected at baseline, 4 and 12 months. Outcome measures were work ability, working percentage, average pain intensity, pain-related disability, and health-related quality of life.


There were no significant effects of adding the web-based intervention to MMR regarding any of the outcome variables.


This trial provides no support for adding a self-guided, web-based activity programme to MMR for patients with persistent musculoskeletal pain.


The comprehensive self-guided, web-based programme for activity, Web-BCPA, added to multimodal treatment in primary health care had no effect on work ability, pain, disability or health-related quality of life. Future web-based interventions should be tailored to patients’ individual needs and expectations.