In a recent Journal of Pain report, researchers reported that seniors who surf the internet might actually be able to find much needed relief from the burden of chronic pain that comes with illnesses like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
A team based in Chicago, Illinois recently examined the overall benefit of self-care treatment techniques that are designed to help improve body and mind in adults and seniors 55 and older. The team examined the effectiveness of self-care tools easily accessed online by reporting on patient changes in the perceived severity of pain. More than 78 seniors participated in the study.
In one group, participants utilized online pain intervention methods at least weekly for a period of six weeks. The seniors accessed a website containing six complete modules for pain support that offered self-care techniques that could be implement individually. The treatments included relaxation, deep abdominal breathing, and writing exercises for recording both positive and negative experiences.
The websites included instructional materials for completing the self-care treatments via video, text, worksheets, and even illustrations. Following the exercises, participants were invited to reflect on their experience and make comments related to their level of pain.
Pain relief self-care exercises:
- Deep breathing: Take long deep breaths from the abdomen. Close your eyes and focus on the breath, trying not to be distracted by your surroundings.
- Relaxation: Try repeating a mantra or reading a favorite poem out loud in order to deepen your sense of relaxation.
- Writing exercises: Try free writing about positive or negative feelings in order to clear your mind.
When the study concluded, researchers found substantial evidence that participants in the internet groups felt increasingly confident about self-care techniques and experienced less severe pain as a result. Doctors and researchers alike are hopeful that this will help empower seniors who suffer from chronic pain conditions in the near future.