Smartphones Help in Combating Chronic Pain for Women

The Journal of Medical Internet Research is reporting the findings of a recent Norwegian study which aims to show how smartphones can help women suffering from chronic pain.

A total of 140 women with chronic widespread pain participated in the study, which sought to learn if Internet-based interventions using cognitive behavioral approaches could be effective in promoting self-management of chronic pain conditions.

Web-based programs delivered via smartphones are increasingly used to support the self-management of various health disorders, but research on smartphone interventions for persons with chronic pain is limited.

Participants received 3 smartphone diary entries daily to support their awareness of and reflection on pain-related thoughts, feelings, and activities. The registered diaries were immediately available to a therapist who submitted personalized written feedback daily based on cognitive behavioral principles. Both groups were given access to a noninteractive website after discharge to promote constructive self-management.

After the 4-week period drew to a close, some conclusions were swiftly reached regarding the outcome.

“The results,” reads the study summary, “suggest that a smartphone-delivered intervention with diaries and personalized feedback can reduce catastrophizing and prevent increases in functional impairment and symptom levels in women with chronic widespread pain following inpatient rehabilitation.”

With an estimated 4% to 10% of the adult population now experiencing chronic widespread pain, understanding how smartphones can play an important role in the treatment process will likely remain a critical subject for research within the mHealth community.

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