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Keywords:

  • chronic pain;
  • community;
  • motivational interviewing;
  • older persons;
  • physical exercise

Aims and objectives

To examine the effectiveness of an integrated motivational interviewing and physical exercise programme on pain, physical and psychological function, quality of life, self-efficacy, and compliance with exercise for community-dwelling older persons with chronic pain.

Background

Chronic pain is common among older persons. Indeed, motivation for managing pain is poor, and may cause negative consequences. Motivational interviewing maybe effective in treating chronic pain.

Design

Single-blinded randomised control study.

Methods

Older persons with chronic pain (= 56) were recruited from two elderly community centres. They were blinded from the group allocation. The programme was conducted by an motivational interviewing-trained physiotherapist and registered nurses. Participants in the experimental group received an 8-week integrated motivational interviewing and physical exercise programme, while the control group received regular activities in the centre. Motivational interviewing used open-ended questions to encourage participants to express and recognise their pain and behaviours and professional feedback was given accordingly. Pain intensity, pain self-efficacy, anxiety, happiness, depression, mobility and quality of life were measured before and after the motivational interviewing and physical exercise programme. Attendance and compliance rate of the programme was calculated in the experimental group.

Results

Significant improvements in pain intensity, pain self-efficacy, anxiety, happiness and mobility after the motivational interviewing and physical exercise programme (all < 0·05) for experimental group, while no significant improvement in control group except on the happiness scale. Regarding group differences in the outcome measures, the change scores on pain intensity, state anxiety and depression were significantly better in the experimental group.

Conclusion

Motivational interviewing and physical exercise programme is effective in improving pain, physical mobility, psychological well-being and self-efficacy for community-dwelling older persons with chronic pain.

Relevance to clinical practice

Motivational interviewing is a feasible counselling technique whose content can be modified based on target group to change maladaptive behaviours, elicit ambivalences and enhance self-efficacy for making changes. Thus, promoting motivational interviewing and physical exercise programme to older persons with pain is effective and important.