While text messaging may not seem like a way for pain patients to alleviate some of their symptoms, it is -- at least that's what the results of a recent study concluded.
It's not the actual act of texting that provides pain relief to those suffering from chronic pain. Published in the Journal of Pain, the report found that patients who received supportive text messages every day saw a significant decrease in pain compared to patients who did not.
"Just receiving two messages a day that included simple, encouraging phrases was enough to decrease perceived pain levels in chronic pain patients," Jamie Guillory, a scientist at the research institute RTI International and lead author on the study, told Fusion in an email.
To conduct the four-week long study, researchers took a look at 68 patients with chronic noncancer pain from two pain clinics in New York City. They then asked participants to download a pain tracking application to record twice-daily pain interference and affect scores over the study period. Patients completed approximately 80% of the daily measurements.
The study's participants were randomly assigned to receive standard care or standard care along with receipt of twice-daily supportive text messages.
The report's findings may not be shocking to many. Back in May, a brief research report published in Pain Medicine concluded that texting during minor surgery cuts the need for pain relievers among patients receiving regional anesthesia. The researchers found that the odds of receiving supplemental analgesia during surgery were nearly seven times higher for patients receiving standard perioperative management than for those texting a stranger
Text messaging has been maligned for causing chronic aches and pains — thanks, in part, to the fact that picking the perfect emoji and typing “haha” for the hundredth time causes us to take on the posture of Quasimodo.