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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Pilot study evaluating a brief mindfulness intervention for those with chronic pain: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
Author(s): Howarth, Ana
Perkins-Porras, Linda
Smith, Jared G
Subramaniam, Jeevakan
Copland, Claire
Hurley, Mike
Beith, Iain
Riaz, Muhammad
Ussher, Michael
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Keywords: Chronic pain
randomized controlled trial
Issue Date: 2-Jun-2016
Citation: Howarth A, Perkins-Porras L, Smith JG, Subramaniam J, Copland C, Hurley M, Beith I, Riaz M & Ussher M (2016) Pilot study evaluating a brief mindfulness intervention for those with chronic pain: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial, Trials, 17, Art. No.: 273.
Abstract: Background: The burden of chronic pain is a major challenge, impacting the quality of life of patients. Intensive programmes of mindfulness-based therapy can help patients to cope with chronic pain but can be time consuming and require a trained specialist to implement. The self-management model of care is now integral to the care of patients with chronic pain; home-based interventions can be very acceptable, making a compelling argument for investigating brief, self-management interventions. The aim of this study is two-fold: to assess the immediate effects of a brief self-help mindfulness intervention for coping with chronic pain and to assess the feasibility of conducting a definitive randomized controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of such an intervention.  Methods/Design: A randomized controlled pilot study will be conducted to evaluate a brief mindfulness intervention for those with chronic pain. Ninety chronic pain patients who attend hospital outpatient clinics will be recruited and allocated randomly to either the control or treatment group on a 1:1 basis using the computer-generated list of random numbers. The treatment group receives mindfulness audios and the control group receives audios of readings from a non-fiction book, all of which are 15 minutes in length. Immediate effects of the intervention are assessed with brief psychological measures immediately before and after audio use. Mindfulness, mood, health-related quality of life, pain catastrophizing and experience of the intervention are assessed with standardized measures, brief ratings and brief telephone follow-ups, at baseline and after one week and one month. Feasibility is assessed by estimation of effect sizes for outcomes, patient adherence and experience, and appraisal of resource allocation in provision of the intervention.  Discussion: This trial will assess whether a brief mindfulness-based intervention is effective for immediately reducing perceived distress and pain with the side effect of increasing relaxation in chronic pain patients and will determine the feasibility of conducting a definitive randomized controlled trial. Patient recruitment began in January 2015 and is due to be completed in June 2016.  Trial registration:ISRCTN61538090Registered 20 April 2015 © 2016 Howarth et al.
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Rights: © Howarth et al. 2016 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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