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Current Research


Join a study for adults with chronic pain

Pain management options like massage, physical therapy, chiropractic and yoga therapies have been shown to be safe and effective for people with chronic pain. We are studying whether online consultations with skilled practitioners in these therapies add benefits for adults prescribed opioids for chronic pain.

What will I be expected to do?

  • Complete screening and surveys online using your computer or smartphone
  • Complete an online pain assessment with a registered nurse
  • Choose 2 different pain therapy options with an experienced provider
  • Take a 45-minute session of your chosen therapies one day a week for 6 weeks using videoconferencing technology
  • Wear monitoring equipment while you sleep – (optional)
  • Earn Gift Cards for Participating

For more information please email 
Nursing.COMFORT@wsu.edu, call the research team at 509-590-5767 or let the clinic staff know you would like more information.

Washington State University Institutional Review Board has reviewed and approved this study for human subject participation.

Citation: Jamie Lewis, MD,  Karlee De Monnin, BS,  Jonathan Smith, BS,  Evan Lewis, Marian Wilson, PhD, MPH, RN (12 March 2021). Pain Medicine, pnab082, https://doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnab082

Program Evaluation of a Home Exercise Program for Chronic Back Pain in the Outpatient Setting

Xiang Jing, DNP and Jamie Lewis, MD


Research indicates many different interventions are potentially therapeutic in managing chronic back pain. While home exercise programs may be cost-effective for individuals, little has been published on the subject of how best to combine functional and psychologic instruments to measure structured exercise programs in an outpatient setting. This DNP project conducted a program evaluation of a pilot project which reviewed the efficacy of a home exercise program for people with chronic back pain. The project was approved by a multi-disciplinary team at a private spine and pain specialty practice. Participants were recruited from patients at this practice, 14 of whom completed this three-month pilot project with no reported adverse events. The program measured participants’ exercise pattern changes, back functional improvement, and compliance to the change of routine through the use of three validated questionnaires: Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaires (FABQ), Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (OSWESTRY), Exercise Self Efficacy Scale (ESES). The program evaluation provided valuable information on how a HEP may further adapt these measurement tools to provide relevant data in a fast-paced outpatient pain management setting.

Previous Research

Goalistics Chronic Pain Program

Northwest Spine and Pain Medicine partnered with Washington State University on a research program looking at efficacy of Goalistics Online Pain Program combined with health coaching at treating chronic pain. Validating the effectiveness of Goalistics Chronic Pain Program and other online modalities helps to increase the scope of treatment options readily available to those suffering from chronic pain.

Building Efficacy for Successful Opioid Tapering

It can be challenging to decrease or discontinue opioid pain medication. Northwest Spine and Pain Medicine partnered with Goalistics, LLC to evaluate a new tool to help patients who are undergoing medically supervised opioid tapering. The development and testing of the Building Efficacy for Successful Tapering (BEST) Program is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The online BEST Program was designed to:

  • Teach pain patients about different methods of pain management that don’t involve pain medication
  • Help them to build their own custom list of “pain reducers”
  • Allow them to track and test the effectiveness of each method
  • Identify the best strategies for them

Two studies were conducted. The first study is a review of the BEST program by patients who are currently undergoing opioid tapering. Their feedback will help ensure that the BEST Program is user-friendly and beneficial to future program users. The second study is a pilot randomized controlled trial to examine the efficacy of the program.

T. Bigand, M. Wilson, S. Riedy, J. Lewis (2017). Cannabis use is related to self-efficacy but not sleep or pain symptoms: A survey of adults prescribed opioids for pain or opioid use disorders [abstract]. The Journal of Pain. 12.121

Inadequate pain management and sleep difficulties are commonly reported by people using opioids to treat persistent pain or for medication-assisted treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Cannabis use is frequently reported within both populations to manage pain and sleep problems, although how cannabis influences co-occurring symptoms is uncertain. Self-efficacy, the confidence that one can control symptoms, can improve pain and sleep symptoms. It remains unknown how cannabis use relates to self-efficacy in managing symptoms of pain and sleep. To explore relationships between cannabis use, sleep quality, pain intensity, and self-efficacy, survey data of adults prescribed opioids for OUD (n = 150) and persistent pain (n = 150) were analyzed. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) global score and Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain intensity and self-efficacy subscale scores were used to assess sleep quality, pain intensity, and self-efficacy, respectively and a questionnaire assessed cannabis use. Data were analyzed using linear regression with main effects for sample (OUD and persistent pain) and cannabis use (yes/no) in the last month and their interaction. Overall, 87% of all surveyed adults had clinically relevant poor sleep quality (PSQI > 5). Better sleep quality was associated with greater self-efficacy (F1,225 = 23.30, P < .001) and less pain intensity (F1,230 = 29.95, P < .001). Cannabis use in the last month did not predict sleep quality or pain intensity (P > .70). Cannabis users had higher self-efficacy scores than non-users (F1,277 = 6.78, P = .01). Persistent pain patients had poorer sleep quality (F1,225 = 10.14, P = .001) and greater pain intensity (F1,281 = 32.43, P < .001) than OUD patients; self-efficacy did not differ (F1,277 = .27, P = .60). Evidence does not support cannabis for improving pain or sleep for either group, yet cannabis users have more confidence in symptom control. Future studies should focus on interventions that reduce symptom burden while enhancing self-efficacy.

Citation: Marian WilsonMyles FinlayMichael Orr Celestina Barbosa-LeikerNaghmana SheraziMary Lee A RobertsMatthew LaytonJohn M Roll (2018). Engagement in online pain self-management improves pain in adults on medication-assisted behavioral treatment for opioid use disorders [abstract]. PubMed.gov Nov;86:130-137

Citation: Bigand, T., Roberts. M., Lewis, J., Wilson, M. (2019). Coaching to increase engagement in online pain self-management program [abstract]. Pain Management Nursing, 20(2),96.