Rule 17, exhibit 9 Chronic Pain Disorder Medical Treatment Guidelines Revised: December 27, 2011 Effective: February 14, 2012



Download 0.81 Mb.
Page3/14
Date conversion02.12.2016
Size0.81 Mb.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   14
DIAGNOSTIC STUDIES Imaging of the spine and/or extremities is a generally accepted, well-established, and widely used diagnostic procedure when specific indications, based on history and physical examination, are present. Physicians should refer to specific acute care Division guidelines for detailed information about specific testing procedures. Tests should be performed to rule in or out specific diagnoses.

Radiographic Imaging, MRI, CT, bone scan, radiography, and other special imaging studies may provide useful information for many musculoskeletal disorders causing chronic pain. Most imaging is likely to demonstrate aging changes which are usually not pathologic. Refer to specific guidelines for details. Patients should be informed before the test is performed the purpose of the exam, e.g. to rule out unsuspected cancer, and the likelihood that non pathologic aging changes will be found.

Electrodiagnostic studies may be useful in the evaluation of patients with suspected myopathic or neuropathic disease and may include Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS), Standard Needle Electromyography, or Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP). The evaluation of electrical studies is complex and should be performed by specialists who are well trained in the use of this diagnostic procedure.

Special testing procedures may be considered when attempting to confirm the current diagnosis or reveal alternative diagnosis. In doing so, other special tests may be performed at the discretion of the physician.

Testing for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS-I) or Sympathetically Maintained Pain (SMP) is described in the Division’s Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Medical Treatment Guidelines.

LABORATORY TESTING is generally accepted, well-established, and widely used procedures and can provide useful diagnostic and monitoring information. They may be used when there is suspicion of systemic illness; infection; neoplasia; underlying rheumatologic disorder or connective tissue disorder; or based on history and/or physical examination. Tests include, but are not limited to the following:

Complete Blood Count (CBC) with differential can detect infection, blood dyscrasias, and medication side effects;

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, rheumatoid factor, Antinuclear Antigen (ANA), Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA), and C-reactive protein can be used to detect evidence of a rheumatologic, infection, or connective tissue disorder;

Thyroid, glucose and other tests to detect endocrine disorders; (e.g. catecholamines, free and total testosterone levels, both of which may be deficient in chronic pain patients secondary to prolonged stress and/or chronic use of opioid analgesics);

Serum calcium, phosphorous, uric acid, alkaline phosphatase, and acid phosphatase can detect metabolic bone disease;

Urinalysis can detect bacteria (usually with culture and sensitivity), calcium, phosphorus, hydroxyproline, or hematuria;

Liver and kidney function may be performed for baseline testing and monitoring of medications; and

Toxicology screen. Serum and/or urine may be performed as appropriate. A blood alcohol level may also be appropriate if alcohol abuse is suspected.

INJECTIONS–DIAGNOSTIC

Spinal Diagnostic Injections: Diagnostic injections should not be done merely to identify all possible pain generators. The indications for the diagnostic injections must be met and a specific therapeutic goal clarified to justify the need for further diagnostic injections.

Description — generally accepted, well-established procedures. These injections may be useful for localizing the source of pain, and may have added therapeutic value when combined with injection of therapeutic medication(s). Each diagnostic injection has inherent risks, and risk versus benefit should always be evaluated when considering injection therapy. Since these procedures are invasive, less invasive or non-invasive procedures should be considered first. Selection of patients, choice of procedure, and localization of the level for injection should be determined by clinical information indicating strong suspicion for pathologic condition(s) and the source of pain symptoms.

Because injections are invasive with an inherent risk, the number of diagnostic procedures should be limited in any individual patient to those most likely to be primary pain generators. Patients should not receive all of the diagnostic blocks listed merely in an attempt to identify 100% of the pain generators.

The interpretation of the test results are primarily based on functional change, symptom report, and pain response (via a recognized pain scale before, and at an appropriate time after the injection). The diagnostic significance of the test result should be evaluated in conjunction with clinical information and the results of other diagnostic procedures. Injections with local anesthetics of differing duration may be used to support a diagnosis. In some cases, injections at multiple levels may be required to accurately diagnose cervical conditions. Refer to Section F. 5., Therapeutic Procedures, Non-Operative, Injections – Therapeutic, for information on specific injections.

It is obligatory that sufficient data be accumulated by the examiner performing this procedure such that the diagnostic value of the procedure is evident to other reviewers. This entails, at a minimum, documentation of patient response immediately following the procedure including details of any symptoms with a response and the degree of response. Additionally, a log must be recorded as part of the medical record which documents response, if any, on an hourly basis for, at a minimum, the expected duration of the local anesthetic phase of the procedure. Responses must be identified as to specific body part (e.g., low back, neck, leg, or arm pain). The physician must identify the local anesthetic used and the expected duration of response for diagnostic purposes.

Multiple injections provided at the same session without staging may seriously dilute the diagnostic value of these procedures. Physicians must carefully weigh the diagnostic value of the procedure against the possible therapeutic value.

Special Requirements for Diagnostic Injections  Since multi-planar, fluoroscopy during most procedures is required to document technique and needle placement, an experienced physician should perform the procedure. Permanent images are required to verify needle placement for all spinal procedures. The subspecialty disciplines of the physicians performing injections may be varied, including, but not limited to: anesthesiology, radiology, surgery, or physiatry. The physician who performs spinal injections for low back pain should document hands-on training through workshops of the type offered by organizations such as the International Spine Intervention Society (ISIS) and/or completed fellowship training with interventional training. The physician who performs spinal injections for cervical pain should have completed fellowship training in pain medicine with interventional training, or its equivalent. Physicians performing spinal injections for low back and cervical pain should obtain fluoroscopy training and must also have the appropriate training in radiation safety, usually overseen by a radiation safety officer.

Complications  General complications of diagnostic injections may include transient neurapraxia, nerve injury, infection, headache, vasovagal effects, as well as epidural hematoma, permanent neurologic damage, dural perforation and CSF leakage, and spinal meningeal abscess. Severe complications of cervical injections are remote but can include spinal cord damage, quadriplegia, and/or death. Injections at a C2-C3 level frequently cause temporary neuritis with ataxia.

Contraindications  Absolute contraindications to diagnostic injections include: (a) bacterial infection – systemic or localized to region of injection, (b) bleeding diatheses, (c) hematological conditions, and (d) possible pregnancy.

Relative Contraindications –

Relative contraindications to diagnostic injections may include: (a) allergy to contrast or shellfish, (b) poorly controlled Diabetes Mellitus and/or hypertension.

Drugs affecting coagulation, such as aspirin, NSAIDs and other anti-platelet or anti-coagulants require restriction from use. Decisions regarding the number of restricted days should be made in consultation with the prescribing physician and other knowledgeable experts.

Specific Diagnostic Injections  In general, relief should last for at least the duration of the local anesthetic used and should significantly relieve pain and result in functional improvement. Refer to Section F.5, Therapeutic Injections for information on other specific therapeutic injections. The following injections are used primarily for diagnosis:

i. Medial Branch Blocks: (Refer to Low Back and Cervical Spine Medical Treatment Guidelines).

ii. Transforaminal Injections: (Refer to Low Back and Cervical Spine Medical Treatment Guidelines)

iii. Zygapophyseal (Facet) Blocks: (Refer to Low Back and Cervical Spine Medical Treatment Guidelines)

iv. Atlanto-Axial and Atlanto-Occipital Injections: (Refer to Cervical Spine Medical Treatment Guidelines).

v. Sacroiliac Joint Injection: (Refer to Low Back and Cervical Spine Medical Treatment Guidelines).

Other Diagnostic Injections:

These injections are frequently employed in assessing the type of pain a patient may be having. They also aid in ascertaining possible mechanisms and origins of the pain as well as the site of the pain source. Some diagnostic injections have therapeutic properties that may be used to both diagnose and treat chronic pain. In those cases, refer to Section F.5, Non-operative Treatment – Injections - Therapeutic for specific information regarding these injections.

Description — generally accepted, well-established procedures. These injections may be useful for localizing the source of pain, and may have added therapeutic value when combined with injection of therapeutic medication(s). Each diagnostic injection has inherent risks, and risk versus benefit should always be evaluated when considering injection therapy. Since these procedures are invasive, less invasive or non-invasive procedures should be considered first. Selection of patients, choice of procedure, and localization of the level for injection should be determined by clinical information indicating strong suspicion for pathologic condition(s) and the source of pain symptoms.

The interpretation of the test result is primarily based upon pain response; the diagnostic significance of the test result should be evaluated in conjunction with clinical information and the results of other diagnostic procedures. Injections with local anesthetics of differing duration are required to confirm a diagnosis. In some cases, injections at multiple levels may be required to accurately diagnose pain. Refer to Section F.5, Therapeutic Injections for information on specific injections.

Special Requirements for Diagnostic Injections  Since fluoroscopic, arthrographic and/or CT guidance during procedures is required to document technique and needle placement an experienced physician should perform the procedure. The subspecialty disciplines of the physicians may be varied, including, but not limited to: anesthesiology, radiology, surgery, or physiatry. The physician should have experience in ongoing injection training workshops provided by organizations such as the International Spine Intervention Society (ISIS). In addition, physicians should obtain fluoroscopy training and must have the appropriate training radiation safety, usually overseen by a radiation safety officer.

Complications  General complications of diagnostic injections may include transient neurapraxia, nerve injury, infection, headache, vasovagal effects, as well as epidural hematoma, permanent neurologic damage, dural perforation and CSF leakage, and spinal meningeal abscess. Severe complications of cervical injections are remote but can include spinal cord damage, quadriplegia, and/or death.

Contraindications  Absolute contraindications of diagnostic injections include: (a) bacterial infection – systemic or localized to region of injection, (b) bleeding diatheses, (c) hematological conditions, and (d) possible pregnancy.

Relative Contraindications: Relative contraindications of these injections may include: (a) allergy to contrast or shellfish, (b) poorly controlled diabetes mellitus and/or hypertension.

Drugs affecting coagulation, such as aspirin, NSAIDs and other anti-platelets or anti-coagulants require restriction from use. Decisions regarding the number of restricted days should be made in consultation with the prescribing physician and other knowledgeable experts.

Specific Diagnostic Injections  In general, relief should last for at least the duration of the local anesthetic used and give significant relief of pain. Refer to Section F.5, Therapeutic Injections for information on other specific therapeutic injections. The following injections are used primarily for diagnosis:

i. Sympathetic Injections: are diagnostic injections that may be used in suspected cases of CRPS-I. Refer to the Division’s Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Medical Treatment Guidelines for specific information regarding the use of these injections.

ii. Peripheral Nerve Blocks: are diagnostic injections that may be used for specific nerve injury or entrapment syndromes. Not all peripheral nerve blocks require fluoroscopy. On occasion they are used for treatment in chronic pain or CRPS. Repeat injection for treatment should be based on functional changes. These injections are usually limited to 3 injections per site per year.

SPECIAL TESTS are generally well-accepted tests and are performed as part of a skilled assessment of the patients’ capacity to return to work, his/her strength capacities, and/or physical work demand classifications and tolerance. The procedures in this subsection are listed in alphabetical order.

Computer-Enhanced Evaluations: may include isotonic, isometric, isokinetic and/or isoinertial measurement of movement, range-of-motion, endurance, or strength. Values obtained can include degrees of motion, torque forces, pressures, or resistance. Indications include determining validity of effort, effectiveness of treatment and demonstrated motivation. These evaluations should not be used alone to determine return to work restrictions.



  • Frequency: One time for evaluation. Can monitor improvements in strength every 3 to 4 weeks up to a total of 6 evaluations.

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE): is a comprehensive or modified evaluation of the various aspects of function as they relate to the worker’s ability to return-to-work. Areas such as endurance, lifting (dynamic and static), postural tolerance, specific range-of-motion, coordination and strength, worker habits, employability and financial status, as well as psychosocial aspects of competitive employment may be evaluated. Components of this evaluation may include: (a) musculoskeletal screen; (b) cardiovascular profile/aerobic capacity; (c) coordination; (d) lift/carrying analysis; (e) job-specific activity tolerance; (f) maximum voluntary effort; (g) pain assessment/psychological screening; and (h) non-material and material handling activities. Standardized national guidelines (such as National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)) should be used as the basis for FCE recommendations.

When an FCE is being used to determine return to a specific jobsite, the provider is responsible for fully understanding the job duties. A jobsite evaluation is frequently necessary. FCEs cannot be used in isolation to determine work restrictions. The authorized treating physician must interpret the FCE in light of the individual patient's presentation and medical and personal perceptions. FCEs should not be used as the sole criteria to diagnose malingering.

Full FCEs are rarely necessary. In many cases, a work tolerance screening will identify the ability to perform the necessary job tasks.


  • Frequency: Can be used: 1) initially to determine baseline status; and 2) for case closure when patient is unable to return to the pre-injury position and further information is desired to determine permanent work restrictions. Prior authorization is required for FCEs performed during treatment.

Jobsite Evaluation and Alterations: is a comprehensive analysis of the physical, mental, and sensory components of a specific job. The goal of the jobsite evaluation is to identify any job modification needed to ensure the safety of the employee upon return to work. These components may include, but are not limited to: (a) postural tolerance (static and dynamic); (b) aerobic requirements; (c) range-of-motion; (d) torque/force; (e) lifting/carrying; (f) cognitive demands; (g) social interactions; (h) visual perceptual; (i) environmental requirements of a job; (j) repetitiveness; and (k) essential functions of a job; and (l) ergonomic set up. Job descriptions provided by the employer are helpful but should not be used as a substitute for direct observation.

Jobsite evaluation and alteration should include input from a health care professional with experience in ergonomics or a certified ergonomist; the employee, and the employer. The employee must be observed performing all job functions in order for the jobsite evaluation to be a valid representation of a typical workday.

A jobsite evaluation may include observation and instruction of how work is done, what material changes (desk, chair) should be made, and determination of readiness to return to work.

Requests for a jobsite evaluation should describe the expected goals for the evaluation. Goals may include, but are not limited to the following:

To determine if there are potential contributing factors to the person’s condition and/or for the physician to assess causality;

To make recommendations for, and to assess the potential for ergonomic changes;

To provide a detailed description of the physical and cognitive job requirements;

To assist the patient in their return to work by educating them on how they may be able to do their job more safely in a bio-mechanically appropriate manner;

To give detailed work/activity restrictions.


  • Frequency: One time with additional visits as needed for follow-up per jobsite.

Vocational Assessment: Once an authorized practitioner has reasonably determined and objectively documented that a patient will not be able to return to his/her former employment and can reasonably prognosticate final restrictions, implementation of a timely vocational assessment can be performed. The vocational assessment should provide valuable guidance in the determination of future rehabilitation program goals. It should clarify rehabilitation goals, which optimize both patient motivation and utilization of rehabilitation resources. If prognosis for return to former occupation is determined to be poor, except in the most extenuating circumstances, vocational assessment should be implemented within 3 to 12 months post-injury. Declaration of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) should not be delayed solely due to lack of attainment of a vocational assessment.

  • Frequency: One time with additional visits as needed for follow-up.

Work Tolerance Screening (Fitness for Duty): is a determination of an individual's tolerance for performing a specific job based on a job activity or task. It may include a test or procedure to specifically identify and quantify work-relevant cardiovascular, physical fitness and postural tolerance. It may also address ergonomic issues affecting the patient’s return-to-work potential. May be used when a full FCE is not indicated.

  • Frequency: One time for initial screen. May monitor improvements in strength every 3 to 4 weeks up to a total of 6 visits.

THERAPEUTIC PROCEDURES – NON-OPERATIVE

Non-operative therapeutic rehabilitation is applied to patients with chronic and complex problems of de-conditioning and functional disability. Treatment modalities may be utilized sequentially or concomitantly depending on chronicity and complexity of the problem, and treatment plans should always be based on a diagnosis utilizing appropriate diagnostic procedures.

Before initiation of any therapeutic procedure, the authorized treating physician, employer and insurer must consider these important issues in the care of the injured worker:

a. Patients undergoing therapeutic procedure(s) should be released or returned to modified or restricted duty during their rehabilitation at the earliest appropriate time. Refer to F.12, Return-to-Work in this section for detailed information.

b. Reassessment of the patient’s status in terms of functional improvement should be documented after each treatment. If patients are not responding within the recommended time periods, alternative treatment interventions, further diagnostic studies or consultations should be pursued. Continued treatment should be monitored using objective measures such as:


  • Return-to-work or maintaining work status;

  • Fewer restrictions at work or performing activities of daily living (ADL);

  • Decrease in usage of medications related to the work injury; and

  • Measurable functional gains, such as increased range-of-motion or documented increase in strength.

c. Clinicians should provide and document education to the patient. No treatment plan is complete without addressing issues of individual and/or group patient education as a means of facilitating self-management of symptoms.

d. Psychological or psychosocial screening should be performed on all chronic pain patients.

The following procedures are listed in alphabetical order.


    1. ACUPUNCTURE When acupuncture has been studied in randomized clinical trials, it is often compared with sham acupuncture and/or with no acupuncture (usual care). The differences between true acupuncture and usual care have been moderate, but clinically important. These differences can be partitioned into two components: nonspecific effects and specific effects. Nonspecific effects, such as patient beliefs and expectations, attention from the acupuncturist, administration of acupuncture in a relaxing setting, and other components of what is often called the placebo effect. Specific effects refer to any additional effects which occur in the same setting of expectations and attention, but are attributable to the penetration of the skin in the specific, classic acupuncture points on the surface of the body by the needles themselves.

      In most controlled studies the differences between the sham and the classic acupuncture, specific effects of classic acupuncture, have been small in relation to the nonspecific effects. However, the sham controlled studies have shown consistent advantages of both true and sham acupuncture over no acupuncture, when the studies have included a third comparison group which was randomized to usual medical care. Having this third comparison group has been advantageous in the interpretation of the nonspecific effects of acupuncture, since the third comparison group controls for some influences on study outcome including more frequent contact with providers, the natural history of the condition, regression to the mean, the effect of being observed in a clinical trial, and, if the follow-up observations are done consistently in all three treatment groups, for biased reporting of outcomes. Controlling for these factors enables researchers to more closely estimate the contextual and personal interactive effects of acupuncture as it is generally practiced.

      Because the sham acupuncture interventions in the clinical trials are generally done by trained acupuncturists, and not by totally untrained personnel, the sham acupuncture interventions may include some of the effects of true acupuncture (Dincer F 2003), much as a partial agonist of a drug may produce some of the effects of the actual drug. For example, a sham procedure involving toothpicks rather than acupuncture needles may stimulate cutaneous afferents in spite of not penetrating the skin, much as a neurological sensory examination may test nociceptor function without skin penetration. To the extent that afferent stimulation is part of the mechanism of action of acupuncture, interpreting the sham results as purely a control group would lead to an underestimation of the analgesic effects of acupuncture. Thus we consider in our analysis that “sham” or non-classic acupuncture may have a positive clinical effect when compared to usual care.

      Clinical trials of acupuncture typically enroll participants who are interested in acupuncture, and may respond to some of the nonspecific aspects of the intervention more than would be expected of patients who have no interest in or desire for acupuncture. The nonspecific effects of acupuncture may not be produced in patients who have no wish to be referred for it.

      There is good evidence that both acupuncture and sham acupuncture are superior to usual care without acupuncture for moderate short-term and mild long-term alleviation of low back pain, neck pain, and the pain of joint osteoarthritis (Ernst E 2011; Haake M 2007; Brinkhaus B 2006). In these studies 5-15 treatments were provided. Comparisons of acupuncture and sham acupuncture have been inconsistent, and the advantage of true over sham acupuncture has been small in relation to the advantage of sham over no acupuncture”

      Acupuncture is recommended for chronic pain patients who are trying to increase function and/or decrease medication usage and have an expressed interest in this modality. Acupuncture is not the same procedure as dry needling for coding purposes; however, some acupuncturists may use acupuncture treatment for myofascial trigger points. Dry needling is performed specifically on myofascial trigger points. Refer to Section F. 5. e. Therapeutic Procedures, Non-Operative, Trigger Point Injections and Dry Needling Treatment.

      Credentialed practitioners with experience in evaluation and treatment of chronic pain patients must perform acupuncture evaluations. The exact mode of action is only partially understood. Western medicine studies suggest that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system at the level of the brain, promotes deep relaxation, and affects the release of neurotransmitters. Acupuncture is commonly used as an alternative or in addition to traditional Western pharmaceuticals. It may be used when pain medication is reduced or not tolerated; as an adjunct to physical rehabilitation, surgical intervention; and/or as part of multidisciplinary treatment to hasten the return of functional activity. Acupuncture must be performed by practitioners with the appropriate credentials in accordance with state and other applicable regulations. Therefore, if not otherwise within their professional scope of practice and licensure, those performing acupuncture must have the appropriate credentials, such as L.A.c., R.A.c, or Dipl. Ac.


Acupuncture: is the insertion and removal of filiform needles to stimulate acupoints (acupuncture points). Needles may be inserted, manipulated, and retained for a period of time. Acupuncture has a variety of possible physiologic actions, but their relevance to the clinical response is speculative, for example, one crossover trial measured increased nitric oxide synthase activity in arms which had had acupuncture, increasing palmar blood flow, but this observation may have no bearing on actual analgesic effects (Tsuchiya M 2007).

Indications include joint pain, joint stiffness, soft tissue pain and inflammation, paresthesia, post-surgical pain relief, muscle spasm, and scar tissue pain.

Acupuncture with Electrical Stimulation: is the use of electrical current (micro- amperage or mille-amperage) on the needles at the acupuncture site. It is used to increase effectiveness of the needles by continuous stimulation of the acupoint. Physiological effects (depending on location and settings) can include endorphin release for pain relief, reduction of inflammation, increased blood circulation, analgesia through interruption of pain stimulus, and muscle relaxation.

It is indicated to treat chronic pain conditions, radiating pain along a nerve pathway, muscle spasm, inflammation, scar tissue pain, and pain located in multiple sites.

There is some evidence that a combination of electrical acustimulation to the wrist combined with neck stretching and strengthening exercises for 30 minutes two times per week for a period of about 4 weeks demonstrates more improvement in chronic neck pain and patient self-confidence in performing functional activities than neck exercises alone for up to one month (Chan DKC 2009).

Other Acupuncture Modalities: Acupuncture treatment is based on individual patient needs and therefore treatment may include a combination of procedures to enhance treatment effect. Other procedures may include the use of heat, soft tissue manipulation/massage, and exercise. Refer to Sections F.13 and 14, Active Therapy (Therapeutic Exercise) and Passive Therapy sections (Massage and Superficial Heat and Cold Therapy) for a description of these adjunctive acupuncture modalities and time frames.

Total Time Frames For Acupuncture and Acupuncture with Electrical Stimulation: Time frames are not meant to be applied to each of the above sections separately. The time frames are to be applied to all acupuncture treatments regardless of the type or combination of therapies being provided.


  • Time to Produce Effect: 3 to 6 treatments.

  • Frequency: 1 to 3 times per week.

  • Optimum Duration: 1 to 2 months.

  • Maximum Duration: 15 treatments.

Any of the above acupuncture treatments may extend longer if objective functional gains can be documented or when symptomatic benefits facilitate progression in the patient’s treatment program. Treatment beyond 15 treatments must be documented with respect to need and ability to facilitate positive symptomatic and functional gains. Such care should be re-evaluated and documented with each series of treatments

BIOFEEDBACK is a form of behavioral medicine that helps patients learn self-awareness and self-regulation skills for the purpose of gaining greater control of their physiology, such as muscle activity, brain waves, and measures of autonomic nervous system activity. There is good evidence that biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy are equally effective in managing chronic pain (Hoffman BM 2007). Stress-related psycho-physiological reactions may arise as a reaction to organic pain and in some cases may cause pain. Electronic instrumentation is used to monitor the targeted physiology and then displayed or fed back to the patient visually, auditorily, or tactilely with coaching by a biofeedback specialist.

Indications for biofeedback include individuals who are suffering from musculoskeletal injury where muscle dysfunction or other physiological indicators of excessive or prolonged stress response affects and/or delays recovery. Other applications include training to improve self-management of pain, anxiety, panic, anger or emotional distress, opioid withdrawal, insomnia/sleep disturbance, and other central and autonomic nervous system imbalances. Biofeedback is often utilized for relaxation training. Mental health professionals may also utilize it as a component of psychotherapy, where biofeedback and other behavioral techniques are integrated with psychotherapeutic interventions. Biofeedback is often used in conjunction with physical therapy or medical treatment.

Recognized types of biofeedback include the following:

EMG/Electromyogram (EMG): Used for self-management of pain and stress reactions involving muscle tension.

Skin Temperature: Used for self-management of pain and stress reactions, especially vascular headaches.

Respiration Feedback (RFB): Used for self-management of pain and stress reactions via breathing control.

Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA): Used for self-management of pain and stress reactions via synchronous control of heart rate and respiration. Respiratory sinus arrhythmia is a benign phenomenon which consists of a small rise in heart rate during inhalation, and a corresponding decrease during exhalation. This phenomenon has been observed in meditators and athletes, and is thought to be a psycho-physiological indicator of health.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV): Used for self-management of stress via managing cardiac reactivity.

Electrodermal Response (EDR): Used for self-management of stress involving palmar sweating or galvanic skin response.

Electroencephalograph (EEG, QEEG): Used for self-management of various psychological states by controlling brainwaves.

The goal in biofeedback treatment is normalizing the physiology to the pre-injury status to the extent possible and involves transfer of learned skills to the workplace and daily life. Candidates for biofeedback therapy or training should be motivated to learn and practice biofeedback and self-regulation techniques. In the course of biofeedback treatment, patient stressors are discussed and self-management strategies are devised. If the patient has not been previously evaluated, a psychological evaluation should be performed prior to beginning biofeedback treatment for chronic pain. The psychological evaluation may reveal cognitive difficulties, belief system conflicts, somatic delusions, secondary gain issues, hypochondriasis, and possible biases in patient self-reports, which can affect biofeedback. Home practice of skills is often helpful for mastery and may be facilitated by the use of home training tapes.

Psychologists or psychiatrists, who provide psycho-physiological therapy which integrates biofeedback with psychotherapy, should be either Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA) certified or practicing within the scope of their training. All non-licensed health care providers of biofeedback for chronic pain patients must be BCIA certified and shall have their biofeedback treatment plan approved by the authorized treating psychologist or psychiatrist. Biofeedback treatment must be done in conjunction with the patient’s psychosocial intervention. Biofeedback may also be provided by health care providers, who follow a set treatment and educational protocol. Such treatment may utilize standardized material or relaxation tapes.


  • Time to Produce Effect: 3 to 4 sessions.

  • Frequency: 1 to 2 times per week.

  • Optimum Duration: 6 to 8 sessions.

  • Maximum Duration: 10 to 12 sessions. Treatment beyond 12 sessions must be documented with respect need, expectation, and ability to facilitate positive symptomatic and functional gains.

COMPLEMENTARY ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE (CAM) is a term used to describe a broad range of treatment modalities, a number of which are generally accepted and supported by some scientific literature, and others which still remain outside the generally accepted practice of conventional Western Medicine. In many of these approaches, there is attention given to the relationship between physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. While CAM may be performed by a myriad of both licensed and non-licensed health practitioners with training in one or more forms of therapy, credentialed practitioners should be used when available or applicable.

Although CAM practices are diverse and too numerous to list, they can be generally classified into five domains:

Alternative Medical Systems: These are defined as medical practices that have developed their own systems of theory, diagnosis and treatment and have evolved independent of and usually prior to conventional Western Medicine. Some examples are Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, Homeopathy, and Naturopathy.

Mind-body Interventions: These include practices such as hypnosis, meditation, bioenergetics, and prayer. Reflexology does not appear to relieve low back pain (Poole H 2007).

Biological-based Practices: These include herbal and dietary therapy as well as the use of nutritional supplements. To avoid potential drug interactions, supplements should be used in consultation with the authorized treating physician.

Body-based Therapy: Included in this category are the practices of Yoga and Rolfing bodywork.

Energy-based Practices: Energy-based practices include a wide range of modalities that support physical as well as spiritual and/or emotional healing. Some of the more well-known energy practices include Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Healing Touch and Reiki. Practices such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi are taught to the patient and are based on exercises the patient can practice independently at home. Other energy-based practices such as Healing Touch and Reiki involve a practitioner/patient relationship and may provide some pain relief (So PS [Cochrane] 2008). Tai Chi may improve range of motion in those with rheumatoid arthritis (Wang 2008; Han A [Cochrane], 2004).

Methods used to evaluate chronic pain patients for participation in CAM will differ with various approaches and with the training and experience of individual practitioners. A patient may be referred for CAM therapy when the patient’s cultural background, religious beliefs, or personal concepts of health suggest that an unconventional medical approach might assist in the patient’s recovery or when the physician’s experience and clinical judgment support a CAM approach. The patient must demonstrate a high degree of motivation to return to work and improve their functional activity level while participating in therapy. Other more traditional conservative treatments should generally be attempted before referral to CAM. Treatment with CAM requires prior authorization.



  • Time to Produce Effect: Functional treatment goals and number of treatments for time to produce effect should be set with the practitioner and the patient before the beginning of treatment.

  • Frequency: Per CAM therapy selected.

  • Optimum Duration: Should be based upon the physician’s clinical judgment and demonstration by the patient of positive symptomatic and functional gains. Practitioner provided CAM therapy is not recommended on a maintenance basis.

DISTURBANCES OF SLEEP are common in chronic pain. Although primary insomnia may accompany pain as an independent co-morbid condition, it more commonly occurs secondary to the pain condition itself. Exacerbations of pain often are accompanied by exacerbations of insomnia; the reverse can also occur. Sleep laboratory studies have shown disturbances of sleep architecture in pain patients. Loss of deep slow-wave sleep and increase in light sleep occur and sleep efficiency, the proportion of time in bed spent asleep, is decreased. These changes are associated with patient reports of non-restorative sleep. Sleep apnea may also occur as a primary diagnosis or be caused or exacerbated opioid and hypnotic use. This should be investigated diagnostically (refer to Section F. 7. g., Medications and Medical Management, Opioids).

Many chronic pain patients develop behavioral habits that exacerbate and maintain sleep disturbances. Excessive time in bed, irregular sleep routine, napping, low activity, and worrying in bed are all maladaptive responses that can arise in the absence of any psychopathology. Relaxation training such as progressive relaxation, biofeedback, mindfulness meditation, or imagery training and other forms of cognitive therapy can reduce dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep (Silber MH 2005).

There is some evidence that behavioral modification, such as patient education and group or individual counseling with cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective in reversing the effects of insomnia (Currie SR 2000). Cognitive and behavioral interventions should be undertaken before prescribing medication solely for insomnia. Behavioral modifications are easily implemented and can include:

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   14


The database is protected by copyright ©dentisty.org 2016
send message

    Main page