Education

In some programs, education about pain is restricted to specific information about pain management strategies, or about models of pain, most often drawing the distinctions between acute and chronic pain and explaining the integration of psychological and physical influences on the pain experience. More extensive implementations include comprehensive and integrated educational material that explicitly underpins changes in behavior and cognition practiced in other parts of the program. Ideally, general educational material should be enhanced by specific information that enables formulation of patients' problems to be made to guide specific interventions. This approach is most explicit in individualized programs such as that developed from the fear-avoidance model.28'29 Evidence from RCTs shows that education per se has a small but significant effect and CBT adds to this effect.3[I] Programs frequently provide written supplements to educational sessions and workbooks for patients to review their learning and improve their understanding. Written information facilitates the communication of program aims and methods. The source of communication is also important. The most credible source of information about the body and pain is a medical doctor specialized in pain who is willing to answer questions on treatment and to acknowledge the uncertainties in our understanding of pain. Similarly, a pharmacist's professional knowledge of drug treatments, their side effects, and interactions is often highly valued by patients.

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