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

Treating chronic pain effectively is challenging because the experience of pain is highly subjective. In order to choose the best treatments, doctors rely on patient opinions, expensive tests, and long tests.

A wrist-worn device has been developed that monitors movement, altitude changes, heart rate, perspiration, and skin temperature. Researchers hypothesize that these factors will be associated with physiologic and functional responses to pain. To test this hypothesis, 20 patients with chronic low back pain were asked to wear a wrist-worn device for 7 days and keep a record of their activities. After the study period, patients were asked to complete questionnaires commonly used to assess the impact of chronic pain on work. Patients and physicians 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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The researchers found a statistically significant correlation between device testing and self-reported questionnaires. The device was also found to be acceptable for use by patients and doctors. Based on these results, further development and testing of the tool continues 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 an abstract, “A Patient-Averaged Instrument to Assess the Effectiveness of Chronic Pain – A Pilot Study” at the 21st Annual Meeting of Pain Medicine. The abstract was selected as the Best of Meeting Abstract. Coauthors 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 findings 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 organization of more than 5,000 healthcare professionals dedicated to advancing the evidence-based practice of pain medicine across the pain continuum, from acute to chronic pain. Our mission is to advance the science and practice of regional neurology 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, inclusivity, service, compassion, and wellness.


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