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Getting Active Mindfully: Rationale and Case Illustration of a Group Mind-body and Activity Program for Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain is associated with substantial decreases in physical and emotional health. Psychosocial and physical restoration interventions, although potentially helpful, typically show small-to-moderate improvements that are limited to the short term, and often exhibit problematic adherence. Here, we present GetActive-Fitbit, a novel 10-week group program that integrates mind-body skills, pain coping and gradual increases in activity reinforced by a commercially available digital monitoring device (Fitbit). We illustrate the program among a group of 4 adults with heterogeneous chronic pain. We also highlight pre to post-program improvements in physical function (objective, performance-based and self-report), emotional function (depression and anxiety) and other relevant outcomes targeted by the program (e.g., pain intensity, catastrophizing, mindfulness, coping, kinesiophobia, emotional support, social isolation, pain resilience, program satisfaction and impression of change). Group participants’ experiences suggest that GetActive-Fitbit is credible, useful, and shows potential to improve physical and emotional function among this challenging population.

Clinical trial number: NCT03412916.

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This study was funded by an R34 grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (1R34AT009356-01A1) to the senior author and by a K23 grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (1K23AT010653-01A1) to the first author.

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Authors and Affiliations



AMV conceptualized the study. JG delivered the intervention, conducted the analyses, and wrote the manuscript. AMV guided the interpretation and writing. AL collected data. PJP assisted with data and manuscript preparation. RJK and RRE provided input with data interpretation and manuscript writing. All authors reviewed and agreed with the final manuscript prior to submission.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ana-Maria Vranceanu.

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Conflict of interest

Jonathan Greenberg, Ann Lin, Paula J. Popok, Ronald J. Kulich, Robert R. Edwards and Ana‑Maria Vranceanu declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Approval was obtained from the Institutional Review Board at Massachusetts General Hospital. The procedures used in this study adhere to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Informed Consent

All participants provided written informed consent to participate in the study and that data from their participation be published anonymously.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Massachusetts General Hospital and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Greenberg, J., Lin, A., Popok, P.J. et al. Getting Active Mindfully: Rationale and Case Illustration of a Group Mind-body and Activity Program for Chronic Pain. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 28, 706–719 (2021).

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