Family-based Interventions Benefit Individuals With Musculoskeletal Pain in the Short-term but not in the Long-Term A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Lippincott Williams & Wilkins



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Introduction: The benefits of family-based interventions for patients with musculoskeletal pain have been previously shown in individual randomized controlled trials (RCTs), but no systematic review has summarized their effects. Materials and Methods: A systematic review was conducted to assess the effectiveness of family-based interventions on clinical and biopsychosocial outcomes in people with musculoskeletal pain (PROSPERO CRD42018118442). Meta-analyses were performed for the outcomes of pain intensity, disability, mood, self-efficacy, and marital adjustment. Results: Of 1223 records identified, 18 reports representing 15 RCTs were included in the qualitative review and 10 in the meta-analyses. Family-based interventions were more effective to reduce pain (mean difference [MD], -3.55/100; 95% confidence intreval [CI], -4.03 to -3.06) and disability (MD, -1.51/100; 95% CI, -1.98 to -1.05) than individual-focused interventions at short-term, but not at mid term or long term. There were no effects on other outcomes. Family-based interventions were more effective to reduce pain (MD, -6.05/100; 95% CI, -6.78 to -5.33) compared with usual care only at short-term. No effects were found on disability and other outcomes. Discussion: There is moderate-quality evidence that family-based interventions result in small, significantly better pain and disability outcomes in the short-term compared with individual-focused interventions in patients with musculoskeletal pain. Based on low-quality evidence, family-based interventions result in small improvements on pain in the short-term compared with usual care. Future studies should review the content and optimize the mechanisms underpinning family-based interventions in musculoskeletal pain so that the approach could be further tested in adequately powered RCTs.




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Clinical Journal Of Pain. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, v. 37, n. 2, p. 140-157, 2021.

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