Psychological treatments and psychotherapies in the neurorehabilitation of pain: Evidences and recommendations from the italian consensus conference on pain in neurorehabilitation

Gianluca Castelnuovo, Emanuele M. Giusti, Gian Mauro Manzoni, Donatella Saviola, Arianna Gatti, Samantha Gabrielli, Marco Lacerenza, Stefania Corti, Valentina Villa, Amelia Brunani, Paolo Capodaglio, Lorenzo Priano, Alessandro Mauro, Giuseppe Riva, Enrico Molinari, Stefano Paolucci, Giorgio Sandrini, Michela Agostini, Enrico Alfonsi, Elena AlvisiIrene Aprile, Michelangelo Bartolo, Roberto Bergamaschi, Eliana Berra, Stefano Brunelli, Maria Gabriella Buzzi, Augusto Caraceni, Elena Carraro, Roberto Casale, Ubaldo Del Carro, Rita Formisano, Barbara Gardella, Enrico Marchioni, Andrea Martinuzzi, Danilo Miotti, Marco Molinari, Giovanni Morone, Rossella Nappi, Stefano Negrini, Andrea Pace, Luca Padua, Emanuela Pagliano, Costanza Pazzaglia, Giorgio Scivoletto, Isabella Springhetti, Cristina Tassorelli, Marco Traballesi, Marco Tramontano, Andrea Turolla, Paolo Zerbinati, Italian Consensus Conference on Pain in Neurorehabilitation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: It is increasingly recognized that treating pain is crucial for effective care within neurological rehabilitation in the setting of the neurological rehabilitation. The Italian Consensus Conference on Pain in Neurorehabilitation was constituted with the purpose identifying best practices for us in this context. Along with drug therapies and physical interventions, psychological treatments have been proven to be some of the most valuable tools that can be used within a multidisciplinary approach for fostering a reduction in pain intensity. However, there is a need to elucidate what forms of psychotherapy could be effectively matched with the specific pathologies that are typically addressed by neurorehabilitation teams. Objectives: To extensively assess the available evidence which supports the use of psychological therapies for pain reduction in neurological diseases. Methods: A systematic review of the studies evaluating the effect of psychotherapies on pain intensity in neurological disorders was performed through an electronic search using PUBMED, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Based on the level of evidence of the included studies, recommendations were outlined separately for the different conditions. Results: The literature search yielded 2352 results and the final database included 400 articles. The overall strength of the recommendations was medium/low. The different forms of psychological interventions, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, cognitive or behavioral techniques, Mindfulness, hypnosis, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Brief Interpersonal Therapy, virtual reality interventions, various forms of biofeedback and mirror therapy were found to be effective for pain reduction in pathologies such as musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Central Post-Stroke pain, Phantom Limb Pain, pain secondary to Spinal Cord Injury, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating syndromes, diabetic neuropathy, Medically Unexplained Symptoms, migraine and headache. Conclusions: Psychological interventions and psychotherapies are safe and effective treatments that can be used within an integrated approach for patients undergoing neurological rehabilitation for pain. The different interventions can be specifically selected depending on the disease being treated. A table of evidence and recommendations from the Italian Consensus Conference on Pain in Neurorehabilitation is also provided in the final part of the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Chronic pain
  • Clinical psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Neurological rehabilitation
  • Pain
  • Psychological treatments
  • Psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychological treatments and psychotherapies in the neurorehabilitation of pain: Evidences and recommendations from the italian consensus conference on pain in neurorehabilitation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this