Take Charge of Pain: Evaluating a community-targeted self-management education program for people with musculoskeletal pain

Elizabeth Hoon, Karen Smith, Julie Black, Simon Burnet, Catherine Hill, Tiffany Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Issue addressed: Musculoskeletal conditions are highly prevalent, affecting 28% of the Australian population. Given the persistent nature of many musculoskeletal conditions self-management is recognised as an important aspect of effective disease management. However, participant recruitment and retention for formal self-management programs is a challenge. Methods: Arthritis SA (Arthritis Foundation of South Australia, a non-profit community health organisation) redesigned a shorter, community-orientated self-management education program delivered by health professionals. The program utilises aspects of the Stanford model of chronic disease self-management and motivational interviewing as well as principles of adult learning to create an effective learning environment. The program aims to guide participants to learn and practise a range of pain management strategies that are known to be effective in improving quality of life. This study used a pre- and post-test (at 6 weeks) design to determine whether this program achieved benefits in self-reported health outcomes. Outcomes that were measured included pain, fatigue, health distress, self-efficacy and communication. Results: A response rate of 47% (n = 102) was achieved and small but statistically significant improvements in mean [s.d.] pain scores (6.1 [2.3] to 5.4 [2.4], P = 0.001), health distress (2.3 [1.3] to 2.0 [1.3], P = 0.002) and self-efficacy (6.2 [2.1] to 6.8 [2.2], P = 0.002) were found. Conclusion: Community-based participants of this shorter, focused program recorded small but significant improvements in self-reported pain, health distress and self-efficacy. For those who completed the current program, Arthritis SA is currently exploring the potential of developing a booster session to promote sustainable positive health outcomes. So what? Supporting self-management through education is recognised as important but also as a key challenge for effective management of musculoskeletal conditions. Using a pre-post evaluation design, this study demonstrated effectiveness (shortterm improvements for self-reported pain, health distress and self-efficacy) for a redesigned and shortened communitytargeted program focusing on musculoskeletal pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-80
Number of pages4
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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