Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent, disabling and persistent symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). Despite a high level of healthcare utilization for pain, about half of adults with MS continue to experience moderate or severe persistent pain. Chronic pain has been linked with poorer health, depression, sleep disruption, physical inactivity, and problems with work and social life. Currently, medications used to treat pain rarely provide complete relief and often involve unwanted side effects. One non-pharmacologic approach to pain management, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), has been shown to reduce pain intensity in people with MS. This therapy focuses on reducing negative pain-related thoughts and coping behaviors. Another approach, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), integrates mindfulness meditation within a CBT-oriented framework to address not only unhelpful thoughts and behaviors but also things such as attentional control, separating attention from emotion, and meditative behavior.

The purpose of this study is to see if CBT and MBCT treatments can help decrease pain in people with MS and investigate who specifically benefits from these types of treatment. This study also explores if these treatments can be given effectively by videoconference.

This study is open to people nationwide who are diagnosed with any form of MS, are 18 years of age or older, and have chronic pain. Participants should have access to and be able to communicate over the telephone, and a computer or digital device (any operating system) with internet access. 

Participants will undergo telephone assessments, and then will be randomly assigned to receive MBCT, CBT, or usual care (continue with their current care without additional study treatment). Those assigned to the usual care group will be given an opportunity to receive the intervention later. The interventions will be delivered over 8-weeks by videoconference.

This study is funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS).

Learn more about the ADAPT study and other clinical trials online.

Recently, a manuscript discussing the design of the ADAPT study was published in Trials.

Recruitment for the ADAPT study is now complete. The ADAPT study is closed for enrollment of new participants. If you have other questions about the study, please email us at