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Pain SIG Update

Brent Van Dorsten, PhD, Pain SIG Chair

The SBM Pain Special Interest Group (SIG) is an interdisciplinary group of approximately 150 members, making it the eighth largest SBM SIG. The Pain SIG is comprised of clinicians, researchers, educators and program administrators, and provides multiple opportunities for collegial interaction and professional presentation involvement by trainees at all levels. At the 2010 annual meeting in Seattle, WA, a wide variety of well attended conference symposia highlighted recent advances in pain research and emphasized the interdisciplinary challenges in pain management. Universally recognized pain expert and the 2009-2010 SBM President, Francis J. Keefe, PhD, represented this topic well during his opening keynote and presidential address titled Behavioral Medicine: A Voyage to the Future. Other topics addressed in pain-related presentations included: investigating the effect of virtual reality interventions for burn pain (Hunter Hoffman, PhD, Chair); ethnic discrepancies in management of cancer pain (Kevin D. Stein, PhD, Chair); translation of predisposition data to treatment (Martin D. Cheatle, PhD, Chair); and, innovative treatment approaches for chronic pain (Robert Motl, PhD, Chair). A very popular symposium entitled Pain Management in the Primary Care Setting conducted by Martin D. Cheatle, PhD, Dennis C. Turk, PhD, and Robert D. Kerns, PhD, highlighted research and clinical issues in the management of pain in interdisciplinary settings.

Other Pain SIG activities at the annual meeting included the Pain SIG Business meeting and the Pain "Data Blitz." At the Business Meeting, members discussed the pending development of an administrative board structure to govern the SIG's future activities, as well as the logistics of pursuing the SIG's first pre-convention continuing education workshop prior to the 2011 Washington, DC Annual Meeting. The Pain SIG "data blitz" was again very popular and well attended. This data blitz is intended to provide an opportunity for SIG members to present research, clinical, or program projects for peer review and comment. The Student Research Award for outstanding student pain presentation is given during the SIG data blitz. This year, the award was presented to Sheeva Mostoufi, BA, San Diego State University/UCSD for her research entitled C-Reactive Protein and Pain Sensitivity: Preliminary Findings for Female Twins.

The breadth and depth of our members' research is reflected in the sample of activities listed below:

  • Daniel Bruns, PsyD, Greeley, CO, and colleagues recently published two papers: one addressed the selection of patients for medical treatments such as spinal surgeries (Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 16, 127-147, 2009); the other identified extreme risk factors in patients with chronic pain such as suicidal ideation, thoughts of killing physicians, or borderline traits (Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 17, 87-97, 2010).
  • Emil Chiauzzi, PhD & Jonas Bromberg, PsyD, Inflexxion Inc, are enrolling patients for a randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigating a tailored Web-based intervention to improve self-management skills of patients with neuropathic pain. These researchers also recently completed an RCT which suggested that Web-based interventions helped patients with migraine headache to improve self-management of pain and improve coping with pain-related psychosocial issues.
  • Mark Litt, PhD, University of Connecticut Health Center, recently completed a clinical trial that found that patients treated with cognitive behavioral treatment increased active coping strategies for pain and significantly decreased catastrophizing.
  • Carole Upshur, EdD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, recently completed a project to implement best practice guidelines for the assessment and treatment of chronic pain patients in primary care settings. The project included developing both patient and primary care provider assessment and documentation forms to record pain and functional status over time.
  • Julie Wetherell, PhD, San Diego VA/UCSD, is continuing an ongoing VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service research program entitled Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for chronic pain. Dr. Wetherell's current project (Telehealth Therapy for Chronic Pain) compares the efficacy of individual versus telehealth therapy strategies for veterans with chronic pain on several variables including changes in activity interference due to pain, emotional distress, quality of life, physical activity and pain severity.
The SBM Pain SIG encourages all SBM members to consider joining and participating in the many activities at the Annual Meeting. Our listserv provides a vehicle for professional consultation and interaction among members throughout the year as we prepare for Annual Meeting activities. The management of chronic pain remains a significant public health problem and we welcome unique insights into the assessment and treatment of this phenomenon.