Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a novel, group self-management course for adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain: study protocol for a multicentre, randomised controlled trial (COPERS)

Tamar Pincus, Dawn Carnes, Stephanie J C Taylor, Kate E Homer, Sandra Eldridge, Stephen A Bremner, Anisur Rahman, Martin Underwood

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Introduction: Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a common condition that often responds poorly to treatment. Self-management courses have been
advocated as a non-drug pain management technique, although evidence for their effectiveness is equivocal. We designed and piloted a self-management course based on evidence for effectiveness for specific course components and
characteristics. Methods/analysis: COPERS (coping with persistent pain, effectiveness research into self-management) is a pragmatic randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an intensive,
group, cognitive behavioural-based, theoretically informed and manualised self-management course for chronic pain patients against a control of best
usual care: a pain education booklet and a relaxation CD. The course lasts for 15 h, spread over 3 days, with a –2 h follow-up session 2 weeks later. We aim
to recruit 685 participants with chronic musculoskeletal pain from primary, intermediate and secondary care services in two UK regions. The study is powered to show a standardised mean difference of 0.3 in the primary outcome, pain-related disability. Secondary outcomes include generic
health-related quality of life, healthcare utilisation, pain self-efficacy, coping, depression, anxiety and social engagement. Outcomes are measured at 6 and
12 months postrandomisation. Pain self-efficacy is measured at 3 months to assess whether change mediates clinical effect. Ethics/dissemination: Ethics approval was given by Cambridgeshire Ethics 11/EE/046. This trial will
provide robust data on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an evidence-based, group self-management programme for chronic musculoskeletal pain. The published outcomes will help to inform future policy and practice around such self-management courses, both nationally and internationally.
Trial registration: ISRCTN24426731.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdoi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002492
JournalBMJ Open
Issue numbere002492
Early online date29 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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