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Relaxation Training to Decrease Pain and Improve Function in Adolescents With Cerebral Palsy

The recruitment status of this study is unknown. The completion date has passed and the status has not been verified in more than two years.
Verified April 2003 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Recruitment status was:  Recruiting
Information provided by:
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Identifier:
First received: May 22, 2003
Last updated: June 23, 2005
Last verified: April 2003
This study will examine the effectiveness of relaxation training for providing pain relief and improving physical and psychological functioning in youth with physical disabilities due to cerebral palsy.

Condition Intervention
Cerebral Palsy
Behavioral: biofeedback-monitored relaxation training

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Efficacy of Relaxation Training

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):

Estimated Enrollment: 60
Study Start Date: March 2003
Estimated Study Completion Date: March 2006
Detailed Description:

Chronic pain is a serious problem in many youths with disabilities. There is a growing body of research supporting the efficacy of relaxation training for reducing chronic pain in adults. Given this evidence, there has been a growing interest in determining whether these findings also generalize to youths with chronic pain. This study will address a significant gap in the medical literature by examining the efficacy of relaxation training for providing pain relief and improving function in youths with physical disabilities. The study will evaluate the effects of relaxation training on global physiological arousal, pain-site specific muscle tension, and perceived control over pain. Physiological arousal will be assessed via hand temperature and galvanic skin response. Muscle tension will be assessed via surface EMG biofeedback recordings before, during, and after each treatment session. Self-efficacy concerning pain control will be assessed via a modified Survey of Pain Attitudes and modified Coping Strategies Questionnaire.

Sixty youth (age range 10 to 20 years old) with spastic type cerebral palsy (CP) will be randomly assigned to either the relaxation training group or a distraction control group. Youths in the relaxation training group will be given eight sessions of autogenic relaxation training and will be asked to practice relaxation at home using audio tapes. Youths in the distraction control group will receive eight sessions of distracting story-telling and will be asked to listen to age-appropriate audio tapes of stories at home. Study visits are scheduled weekly for eight weeks. Average pain intensity will be assessed with a numerical rating scale. Secondary outcome measures include psychological functioning and pain interference with personal activities. Medical services utilization will be assessed by asking the parent or guardian about any medications taken by the participant, any illnesses or medical complications, any medical treatments received, and the frequency of health care visits. Participants will be assessed at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after treatment.


Ages Eligible for Study:   10 Years to 20 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Referred by the study physician
  • Chronic cerebral palsy-related pain for at least 3 months prior to study entry. The pain needs to have an average daily occurrence of 3 on a 0 to 10 scale, where 0 is no pain and 10 is extreme pain.
  • Primary language is English

Exclusion Criteria

  • Acute painful conditions
  • Cognitive impairment as determined by a score < 12 on the modified Mini-Mental Status Exam
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00061230

United States, Washington
University of Washington Medical Center Recruiting
Seattle, Washington, United States, 98195
Contact: Joyce M. Engel, Ph.D.    206-598-0005   
Contact: Amy J. Hoffman, B.S.    206-616-9058   
Principal Investigator: Joyce M. Engel, Ph.D., OT         
Sponsors and Collaborators
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Principal Investigator: Joyce M. Engel, Ph.D. University of Washington
  More Information Identifier: NCT00061230     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: P01HD33988-00606A1
Study First Received: May 22, 2003
Last Updated: June 23, 2005

Keywords provided by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):
Relaxation training

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Cerebral Palsy
Brain Damage, Chronic
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases processed this record on May 22, 2017