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

Chronic pain is difficult to treat because painful experiences are so subjective. To choose the best treatment, doctors rely on patient opinions, expensive tests, and long tests.

A wrist-worn device has been developed that monitors movement, altitude changes, heart rate, sweat, and skin temperature. The researchers hypothesized that these factors may be related to the physical and behavioral response to pain. To evaluate this hypothesis, 20 patients with back pain were asked to wear a wrist device for 7 days and keep track of their activities. After the study period, patients were asked to complete questionnaires used to assess the impact of pain on the job. Patients and clinicians were also asked to complete a usability questionnaire to determine whether the tool was acceptable for use in clinical practice.

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The researchers found a statistically significant correlation between instrument assessments and self-report questions. The device was also found to be convenient to use by both patients and physicians. Considering these results, the development and evaluation of the device is ongoing in the research and development phase.

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 session, “A Patient-Based Tool to Assess Occupational Impact of Chronic Pain – A Pilot Study.” in 21st Annual Pain Medicine Conference. The abstract was selected as the Best Presentation of the Conference. Authors include 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 made the findings at an event 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 grant number R44NS113740 (PI: Brian Clark).

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ASRA Pain Medicine is a member society of more than 5,000 healthcare professionals dedicated to promoting evidence-based pain medicine across the spectrum of pain, from acute 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 ease the burden of suffering in the world. We are committed to integrity, innovation, inclusion, service, care and prosperity.


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