Surfing the Internet could provide significant relief for seniors with chronic pain, according to new research reported in The Journal of Pain, published by the American Pain Society.
A team of Chicago-based researchers working in the Self-care Pain Management Project assessed the value of mind-body self care techniques for helping older adults manage their pain. They assessed self care tools for older adults available online and documented changes in pain intensity and in the ability of the subjects to better manage their pain. Seventy-eight adults 55 and older were enrolled and divided into intervention and comparison groups.
The intervention group used online intervention at least once a week for six weeks. They accessed a website with six modules for support with pain coping techniques such as abdominal breathing, relaxation, writing about positive experiences, writing about difficult experiences, creative visual expression and positive thinking. Online instructional materials included video and textual components as well as illustrations and worksheets to encourage participant reflection on their responses to pain and development of coping strategies.
At the end of the evaluation, the researchers concluded there was a statistically significant difference in pain response awareness in the intervention group and meaningful improvements in pain intensity and levels of interference in daily activity attributed to pain. The online support tools also were credited with helping improve confidence in nonmedical self-care techniques for managing pain. The authors concluded that online intervention may empower older adults with chronic pain to engage in self care, focus on managing pain in appositive way, and integrate what they learn into their daily routines.
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