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Wellness Program Boosts Mental Health, Lessens Chronic Pain

October 22, 2016

SAN ANTONIO—An integrated wellness program that spans 5 interventions reduced pain and boosted mental health and outlook in participants with chronic pain when added to standard pain and psychiatric interventions, according to a study presented at Psych Congress.

The WILD 5 Wellness Program includes physical exercise, mindfulness-based meditation, sleep hygiene, social connectedness, and nutritional recommendations.

“Data shows that several of the WILD 5 Wellness elements, when looked at individually, result in positive outcomes in a pain population. It just made sense to us that combining the WILD 5 Wellness elements into an integrated wellness intervention should help those with chronic pain conditions,” said researcher Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC.

“We were thrilled to find clinically significant changes on all pain measures. But even better than that, the pain group also showed clinically significant changes on mental health and wellness measures.”

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The study included 51 participants who self-identified as having a chronic pain condition, some of whom also had a mental health challenge, such as anxiety or depression. The most common pain conditions were osteoarthritis and lower back pain, said Dr. Jain, a Psych Congress Steering Committee member.

Participants were required to track adherence in a daily log.

“After the program, we heard from many participants that keeping a daily log helped them stay on track and was a source of motivation,” Dr. Jain said.

After 30 days of participation in the wellness program, researchers found the following changes in the population: Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) depression scores improved 42%, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) scale scores improved 39%, sleep quality improved 29%, and WHO-5 Well-Being Index scores improved 57%. In addition, optimism improved 39%, happiness improved 24%, enthusiasm improved 39%, resilience improved 52%, and enjoyment of life improved 24%.

What’s more, participants experienced statistically significant improvement in chronic pain.

“What is most exciting is knowing we’ve created a wellness intervention that is simple to put into action and is extremely helpful not only for those with mental health and pain conditions but also for the participants’ overall wellbeing,” Dr. Jain said.

“We hope attendees see the value in this wellness intervention and, based upon our findings, are eager to integrate WILD 5 Wellness into their practices.”

—Jolynn Tumolo


Jain S, Daniels N, Gonzales A, et al. Effectiveness of a 30-day wellness program in individuals with chronic pain and mental illness. Poster presented at the 29th Annual U.S. Psychiatric & Mental Health Congress; October 21-24, 2016; San Antonio, TX. Poster 223.

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