Chronic Pain Tracking

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Chronic Pain Tracking

Introduction & Research Strategy

Chronic pain tracking and participation with online communities have been proven via a wide array of clinical trials and scientific studies to reduce overall pain levels, as well as symptoms from secondary conditions such as depression, anxiety, and quality of life. A total of eleven studies have been located to depict this information, eight of which are focused on the reduction of pain specifically, and three of which are focused on minimization of secondary conditions. These studies were all published in medical or scientific journals with reference sources to depict their credibility. Both article types, however, give reference to the lessening of all of these symptoms in some manner. For each, the title, publication date, publication source, a brief overview of the purpose and goals of the study, and 2-3 key statistics proving the reduction in chronic pain and secondary conditions have been provided. Where applicable, charts and graphs have also been provided to further visualize and depict this to be true.

Proving Pain Tracking Can Reduce Chronic Pain

Title: App-based multidisciplinary back pain treatment versus combined physiotherapy plus online education: a randomized controlled trial
Date Published: 03 May 2019
Published In: NPJ Digital Medicine

Study Overview: Adults suffering from non-specific lower back pain (LBP) used either the multidisciplinary Kaia App on mobile devices, or participated in high-quality online education and physiotherapy sessions over the course of 12 weeks. The goal of the study was to prove that patients utilizing the Kaia App would experience a greater reduction in their chronic pain than those in the online education and physiotherapy sessions.
  • Just under 50% of the patients using the Kaia App reported experiencing a reduction in their chronic pain between 50%-100% after 12 weeks.
  • Only 30% of patients participating in the online education and physiotherapy sessions reported the same reduction in their pain after 12 weeks.
Title: Usefulness of the Pain Tracking Technique in Acute Mechanical Low Back Pain
Date Published: 09 July 2015
Published In: Hindawi — Pain Research and Treatment

Study Overview: This study tested the applicability and success rate of pain tracking in patients suffering from acute mechanical lower back pain. Half of the patients in this study did not track their pain at all (Group II), while the other half tracked their pain using both a visual analogue scale and the Waddell test (Group I). Both groups then had their pain treated via electro- and cryotherapy. The goal was to prove that patients that tracked their pain using these scales would report greater reductions in their chronic pain than those that did not track.
  • Patients that tracked their pain using the visual analogue scale and Waddell test experienced faster improvements in their pain levels than those that did not. These patients also experienced analgesia, or the inability to feel pain, at a faster rate than those who did not track their pain using these scales.

Title: Clinical Integration of a Smartphone App for Patients With Chronic Pain: Retrospective Analysis of Predictors of Benefits and Patient Engagement Between Clinic Visits
Date Published: 16 April 2020
Published In: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Study Overview: This study was conducted to determine the possible benefits of smartphone pain apps among users with chronic pain. A pain tracking app was developed specifically for this study by the Brigham and Women's Hospital Pain Management Center, and patients engaged with it over the course of 3 months.
  • The average pain level of participants using the pain tracking mobile app in this study reported a reduction in their chronic pain from a level of 5.7/10 to 5.2/10 at the end of the study.
  • Patients that completed fewer but regular daily pain assessments reported lower pain intensities, less interference in their day-to-day activities, and less pain-related disabilities. Patients that interacted more with the mobile app reported better coping skills with their pain and a greater willingness to use the app in the future.
Title: Internet-delivered cognitive-behavioral treatment for adolescents with chronic pain and their parents: a randomized controlled multicenter trail
Date Published: 1 Jan 2017
Published In: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain

Study Overview: Adolescents between the ages of 11-17 with chronic pain conditions used an internet-delivered, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or an internet-delivered education for pain management. The goal of this study was to determine whether online education or CBTs were realistic solutions to reduce chronic pain in youth. These patients used the online programs over a 6-month period.
  • Pain intensity in youth using the internet-delivered CBT decreased from an average of 6.23/10 before the program to 5.85/10 after the program. Pain intensity in youth using the internet delivered education program decreased slightly less over the course of the study, from 5.78/10 to 5.55/10.
  • Secondary symptoms associated with the youths chronic pain included depression, anxiety, and sleep quality. Patients using the internet-delivered CBT reported a reduction in depressive symptoms from 11.31 to 9.55 and anxiety symptoms from 13.79 to 10.35.
Title: Cyberhugs: Creating a Voice for Chronic Pain Sufferers Through Technology
Date Published: 20 February 2013
Published In: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Study Overview: This study analyzed an online chronic pain management workshop to determine the need for online communities in dealing with chronic pain, feedback on how participation helped users feel a reduction in their chronic pain, and the benefits of computer-mediated discussion in recognizing and living with chronic pain.
  • Participants of the online community and chat each dedicated 2-3 hours per week to reading and anonymously responding to commentary from other participants living with chronic pain. All participants were living with verified chronic pain themselves.
  • Two themes emerged from the online community with regard to living with and managing chronic pain: validation and encouragement. Users reported that they appreciated the uplifting responses of others living with similar difficulties, and afterwards, felt more enabled to open up about their suffering due to the anonymity of the platform.

Title: Self-Administered Skills-Based Virtual Reality Intervention for Chronic Pain: Randomized Controlled Pilot Study
Date Published: 07 July 2020
Published In: JMIR Publications

Study Overview: Patients suffering from chronic pain due to nonmalignant lower back pain or fibromyalgia were provided virtual reality (VR) technology to use at home when feeling pain over a 21-day period. Half of the patients enrolled in the study interacted with audio-only programming via the VR headsets, while the other half used virtual programs to immerse themselves in. The goal was to determine if the immersive visuals helped to reduce the severity of the chronic pain.
  • Patients that used the visual VR program reported a 30% reduction in pain intensity, a 37% increase in physical activity, 50% mood increase, 40% sleep improvement, and 49% stress reduction.
  • 83% of the patients that participated in the visual VR trials reported high satisfaction with chronic pain reductions, compared to 72% of the audio-only patients.

Title: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pediatric Chronic Pain: The Problem, Research, and Practice
Date Published: May 2012
Published In: The Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy

Study Overview: This study conducted cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with adolescents using pain journals to determine whether the treatment was effective in reducing chronic pain with stomachaches. The trials lasted 3 months and required youth to track the duration, intensity, and medication use associated with their stomachaches.
  • Children that self-monitored and recorded their pain in a pain diary while receiving cognitive behavioral therapy reported a reduction in their average pain intensity during stomach aches from 6.09/10 to 5.10/10.
  • Prior to receiving CBT treatment and pain journals to self-monitor their pain throughout the study, the percentage of children that would take medication for stomachaches reduced from 57% to only 7%.
Title: An Internet-Based Intervention for Chronic Pain
Date Published: 13 October 2017
Published In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt International

Study Overview: In this study, patients with clinically-diagnosed chronic pain were assigned to an online acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), referred to as ACTonPain. The purpose of this study was to prove that by accepting the fact that a person suffers from unpleasant and unalterable experiences such as pain can result in a more open and value-oriented lifestyle, which will in turn reduce overall pain levels.
  • The average level of pain interference in patients that were guided through the ACTonPain online program reduced from 4.06/7 to 3.17/7.
  • The average level of pain interference in patients that went through the ACTonPain online program on their own experienced an average pain reduction from 4.01/7 to 3.40/7.
  • Guided patients experienced a reduction in secondary conditions (physical/emotional functioning, health-related quality of life, participant satisfaction, ACT-related variables, and intervention of adherence) from 5.07/7 to 4.01/7. Unguided patients experienced a reduction from an average pain level of 4.96/7 to 4.28/7.

Proving Pain Tracking Can Offset Secondary Conditions

Title: Finding Ways to Lift Barriers to Care for Chronic Pain Patients: Outcomes of Using Internet-Based Self-Management Activities to Reduce Pain and Improve Quality of Life
Date Published: 01 March 2016
Published In: Hindawi: Pain Research and Management

Study Overview: In this study, patients who could not access traditional multidisciplinary pain management were enrolled in an internet-based patient self-management education program to determine if it was a viable option for improvement overall health, quality of life, and pain reduction. Patients participated in the program for at least 15 minutes per day over the course of 6 months, and also kept activity logs to track their pain levels and program compliance.
  • Of the patients that reported moderate or severe levels of pain prior to enrolling in this study, 45% reported mild levels of pain after treatment, resulting in an overall reduction in severe pain reports from 40% to 25%.
  • Severe depression levels decreased from 30% to 10% after treatment. 50% of the patients that reported having severe or moderate depression prior to the study reported that their depression decreased to only mild after treatment.
  • Patients suffering from severe anxiety decreased from 25% pre-treatment to 15% post-treatment. Overall quality of life increased from 25% to 60%.
Title: An Innovative Electronic Health Toolkit (Our Whole Lives for Chronic Pain) to Reduce Chronic Pain in Patients with Health Disparities: Open Clinical Trial
Date Published: 30 March 2020
Published In: JMIR Publications

Study Overview: A chronic pain management eHealth platform was created to teach patients who live with chronic pain but either struggle to or cannot gain access to traditional treatment methods how to manage and reduce the impact of chronic pain on their lives. The eHealth toolkit, called Our Whole Lives for Chronic Pain (OWLCP) included a community blog, private journal, practice assignments and activities, curriculum webpages, and pain and medication tracking tools. This system was used by participants for 21 weeks and measured patient satisfaction with their chronic pain management, as well as other life factors.
  • Patient opioid use for managing chronic pain decreased from 44% to 31% after utilizing the OWLCP eHealth toolkit. 51% of participants were also using NSAIDs prior to enrolling in this study, but only 44% reported still using them after trying the platform.
Title: Automated Self-management (ASM) vs. ASM-Enhanced Collaborative Care for Chronic Pain and Mood Symptoms: the CAMMPS Randomized Clinical Trial
Date Published: 21 June 2019
Published In: The Journal of General Internal Medicine

Study Overview: Patients suffering from both chronic musculoskeletal pain and depression and/or anxiety were asked to use either an automated self-management (ASM) system or participate in an ASM-enhanced collaborative care program to determine whether one would more effectively address the chronic pain and mood conditions at the same time. The ASM program contained 9 web-based self-management modules. Those that were also receiving collaborative care worked with a nurse-physician team as a second mode of treatment. The study ran for 12 months.
  • 26.8% of patients that received the ASM-only treatment reported a significant improvement in their overall pain-anxiety-depression outcomes. However, 39.5% of patients that received the ASM-enhanced care reported a significant improvement in their overall pain-anxiety-depression outcomes.
  • Opioid use declined in patients from 21.4% to 17.0% after participating in this study across both treatment types.