Uhlin K, MDa,b, Persson E, PhD, Bäärnhielm S, Associate Professorc, Borg K Professora,b, Löfgren M, Associate Professora,b, Stålnacke BM, Professora,d

aKarolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Rehabilitation Medicine, Danderyd Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, bDanderyd University Hospital, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden, cCentre for Psychiatry Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet & Stockholm Health Care Services, Region Stockholm, Transcultural Centre, Region Stockholm, Sweden, dDepartment of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Background: Although interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation (IPR) is an evidence-based treatment for patients with chronic pain, those not speaking the native language are commonly not selected for participation in IPR.  There is a knowledge gap regarding IPR for culturally diverse patients with chronic pain.

Aim: The aim was to investigate the outcomes in patients with chronic pain after participating in  IPR with language interpreter (IPR-LI) and to investigate the outcomes in women and men separately.

Method: A prospective longitudinal cohort study of 95 patients with chronic pain who participated in IPR-LI at two Swedish specialist pain rehabilitation centres. Duration and intensity of pain, anxiety and depression, health related quality of life and fear of movement were evaluated prior and after the program. Patients were compared with a reference group of patients, Swedish speaking and participants in IPR.

Results: Before the IPR-LI all variables except pain duration differed significantly to the detriment of the studied group.  The studied group showed significant improvements after the IPR-LI on pain intensity, depression and fear of movement. The reference group improved significantly on all variables.

The women in the studied group showed significant improvements in the same variables as the whole group, while the men in the studied group did not improve in any of the variables.

Conclusion: This study indicates that patients, at least women, seem to benefit from participating in IPR-LI. Men might need further support during the program.

The result could be of value for further development of rehabilitation programs with language interpreters.