Cognitive-behavioral pain management in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Decreasing chronic joint pain is a major goal in the management of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Cognitive-behavioral self-regulatory techniques were taught to children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to reduce musculoskeletal pain intensity and to facilitate better adaptive functioning. Subjects were 13 children between the ages of 4.5 and 16.9 years who had pauciarticular or systemic onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Baseline data included an initial comprehensive assessment of pain, disease activity, and level of functional disability, as well as pain intensity ratings gathered over a 4-week period. Subjects were seen for eight individual sessions in which self-regulatory techniques (progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, meditative breathing) were taught, and parents were seen for two sessions in which key aspects of behavioral pain management techniques were reviewed. Results indicated that these techniques led to substantial reduction of pain intensity, which generalized to outside the clinic setting. Six- and 12-month follow-up data showed consistent decreases in pain as well as improved adaptive functioning. The data suggest that cognitive-behavioral interventions for pain are an effective adjunct to standard pharmacologic interventions for pain in patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

published proceedings

  • Pediatrics

author list (cited authors)

  • Walco, G. A., Varni, J. W., & Ilowite, N. T.

citation count

  • 111

complete list of authors

  • Walco, GA||Varni, JW||Ilowite, NT

publication date

  • June 1992