Wrist-Worn Device Potentially Offers Objective Measure of the Impact of Chronic Pain on Function

Effectively treating chronic pain is challenging because pain experiences are highly subjective. To select the best treatments, physicians rely on patient perceptions, costly tests, and lengthy examinations.

A wrist-worn device has been developed that monitors motion, elevation changes, heart rate, perspiration, and skin temperature. Researchers hypothesized that these factors would align with physiologic 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 if the device would be acceptable for use in clinical practice.

Researchers found a statistically significant correlation between the device assessments and the self-reported questionnaires. The device was also found to be acceptable to use by both patients and physicians. Considering these results, further development and evaluation of the instrument is under way 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 a 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 at 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).

ASRA Pain Medicine is a membership society of more than 5,000 healthcare professionals devoted to advancing 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. Learn more at www.asra.com.