New wrist-worn device can assess functional impact of chronic pain

Effectively treating chronic pain is difficult because pain experiences are highly subjective. To choose the best treatments, doctors rely on patient perceptions, expensive tests and lengthy examinations.

A wrist-worn device has been developed that monitors motion, altitude changes, heart rate, sweat and skin temperature. Researchers hypothesized that these factors would align with a physiological and functional response to pain. To evaluate this hypothesis, 20 patients with chronic low back pain were asked to wear the wrist-worn device for 7 days and keep a log of their activities. After the study period, patients were asked to complete questionnaires that are commonly used to assess the impact of chronic pain on function. Patients and clinicians were also asked to complete a usability questionnaire to determine whether the device would be acceptable for use in clinical practice.

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Researchers found a statistically significant correlation between the device ratings and the self-reported questionnaires. The device was also found to be acceptable to use by both patients and doctors. Given these results, further development and evaluation of the instrument is underway in the next phase of research and development.

Dr. Christopher Chrzan, a resident in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Virginia (UVA) Health System in Charlottesville, will present the abstract, “A Patient-Worn Instrument to Assess Functional Impact of Chronic Pain – A Pilot Study.” at the 21st Annual Pain Medicine Meeting. The abstract was selected as Best of Meeting Abstract. Co-authors are Yasmin Sritapan, DO, Andrew J Cook, PhD, Karen M. Schmidt, PhD, Karen C. Nelson, PT, MS, MD, Lynn R. Kohan, MD, and Brian R. Clark. Dr. Chrzan will present the results in a session on Thursday, November 17, at 1:30 pm, at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, FL. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health under award number R44NS113740 (PI: Brian Clark).

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ASRA Pain Medicine is a membership society of more than 5,000 healthcare professionals dedicated to advancing the evidence-based practice of pain medicine across the pain continuum, from acute pain to chronic pain. Our mission is to advance the science and practice of regional anesthesia and pain medicine to improve patient outcomes through research, education and advocacy. Our vision is to relieve the global burden of pain. We are committed to integrity, innovation, inclusiveness, service, compassion and wellness.

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