Multimodal, integrative therapies for the self-management of chronic pain symptoms

Courtney Lee*, Cindy Crawford, Steven Swann, Chester C. Buckenmaier, Paul Crawford, Roxana Delgado, Daniel Freilich, Anita Hickey, Wayne B. Jonas, Todd May, Richard P. Petri, Eric B. Schoomaker, Christopher Spevak, Alexandra York

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objectives: Chronic pain management typically consists of prescription medications or provider-based, behavioral, or interventional procedures which are often ineffective, may be costly, and can be associated with undesirable side effects. Because chronic pain affects the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), patient-centered complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) therapies that acknowledge the patients' roles in their own healing processes have the potential to provide more efficient and comprehensive chronic pain management. Active self-care CIM therapies (ACT-CIM) allow for a more diverse, patient-centered treatment of complex symptoms, promote self-management, and are relatively safe and cost-effective. To date, there are no systematic reviews examining the full range of ACT-CIM used for chronic pain symptom management. Methods: A systematic review was conducted, using Samueli Institute's rapid evidence assessment of the literature methodology, to rigorously assess both the quality of the research on ACT-CIM modalities and the evidence for their efficacy and effectiveness in treating chronic pain symptoms. A working group of subject matter experts was also convened to evaluate the overall literature pool and develop recommendations for the use and implementation of these modalities. Results: Following key database searches, 146 randomized controlled trials were included in the review, 26 of which investigated multimodal, integrative therapies, as defined by the authors. Conclusion: This article summarizes the current evidence, quality, and effectiveness of these modalities. Recommendations and next steps to move this field of research forward are also discussed. The entire scope of the review is detailed throughout the current Pain Medicine supplement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S76-S85
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Chronic Pain
  • Complementary and Integrative Medicine
  • Multimodal Therapies
  • Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature
  • Self-Care
  • Systematic Review


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