Researchers at Madigan Army Medical Center will soon start studying new ways to address chronic pain, thanks to a $1 million, three-year research grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command.

Madigan's Interdisciplinary Pain Management Clinic is collaborating with the University of Washington to study the effects of adding integrative pain therapies — alternative therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, and biofeedback — to a more traditional outpatient functional restoration program, centered more on physical and occupational therapy. 

While the Madigan IPMC currently offers both integrative pain therapies and the functional restoration program as separate treatment plans, researchers are theorizing that receiving both therapies together, with the alternative treatments implemented first, may be more effective in treating chronic pain. 

To test this theory, chronic pain patients who are candidates for functional restoration will be asked to participate in the study. From there, participants will be randomly put in one of two treatment groups: participants in the first group will engage in integrated therapies before joining in the more intensive functional restoration program, while the participants in the other group will go directly to the functional restoration program. 

The University of Washington's Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and Department of Nursing provided guidance on the research, and will also do the data analysis of the study's findings.