Communicating the Experience of Chronic Pain and Illness through Blogging

When one thinks of chronic or persistent pain one often thinks in terms of the biologic pathways of pain perception.  However, an important component of pain involves of the psychosocial aspects of coping with a chronic illness.  Disciplines across the health professions, including medicine, nursing, psychology, social work, and sociology, are actively engaged  in understanding the psychosocial and emotional consequences of chronic pain and illness: Yet few studies have addressed the  use of web-based tools, such as blogs, in the patient experience of living with chronic pain or illness.

Four Tufts University School of Medicine faculty members, Pamela Katz Ressler (Pain Research, Education and Policy Program), Libby Bradshaw (Pain Research, Education and Policy Program), Lisa Gualtieri (Health Communications Program), and Kenneth Chui (Public Health and Community Medicine) from the Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine recently published the results from a  formative research study,  Communicating the Experience of Chronic Pain and Illness through Blogging, in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The goal of this research was to explore the use of patient illness blogs as a means of communicating the experience of chronic pain  and illness and to articulate the unique set of benefits and barriers of blogging.  Qualitative data from 230 current illness bloggers were collected and analyzed to better understand the self-perceived psychosocial and health effects associated with the blogging activity. Results suggest that blogging about chronic pain and illness may decrease a sense of isolation through the establishment of online connections with others and increases a sense of purpose to help others in similar situations. While the authors’ acknowledge the study limitations, they are hopeful that further research will be conducted to explore the observed associations between communicating the experience of chronic pain through blogging and patients’ coping and self-efficacy when living with chronic pain or illness.

To read the full paper, Ressler, PK; Bradshaw, YS; Gualtieri, L ; Chui, KKH: Communicating the Experience of Chronic Pain and Illness through Blogging,  in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, please click here.


1 comment December 11th, 2012

The PREP Program at Tufts University School of Medicine is GOING THE DISTANCE

The Pain Research, Education & Policy (PREP) program at Tufts University School of Medicine is GOING THE DISTANCE! 

Since 1999 Tufts has had a unique program that trains leaders in pain research, education and policy. Our graduates have included nurses, physicians, dentists, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, pharmacists, researchers, holistic health practitioners, occupational therapists, massage therapists, social workers, hospice workers, health policy advocates, and other health care professionals.

Your input is valuable to us as we plan our move from Boston only-based classroom learning to distance/online  learning — please take this brief, 21 item educational needs  survey. It should take 10 minutes or less to complete.



If you wish to be eligible to win

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Just leave your name and email address as directed at the end of the survey.

1 comment April 19th, 2012

“Cough Trick” Reduces Pain From Immunizations

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
Forcing a cough while receiving an immunization appears to decrease perceived pain a study published in the February 2010 issue of Pediatrics suggested. Dustin Wallace, PhD, one of the study authors states, “Pediatric immunizations are the most common painful procedures occurring in pediatric medical settings. Although a number of strategies are available to help reduce immunization pain, they often are not used because of time, effort, or cost associated with use.”
The goal of the study was to assess the efficacy of a “cough trick” technique on self-reported pain of children receiving routine pediatric immunizations. The “cough trick” technique consisted of a “warm-up” cough of moderate force, followed by a second cough at the time of needle puncture. Self-reported pain was decreased in the experimental group versus the control group. Limitations of the study included small sample size, refusal of some children to comply with intervention, and use of visual analog pain scale which has not be validated for use in young children.
“Belief in the value of pain management is relevant not only for patients but also for staff members,” the study authors conclude. “A significant barrier to the clinical implementation of any pain management strategy may be the perception of some that the pain associated with pediatric immunizations is not worth treating. In this study, however, nurses were observed to use a variety of strategies in the control condition to help children manage the pain, which suggests that the nurses were interested in helping to reduce immunization pain.”
To read more about this study, <a href="click here

Add comment February 2nd, 2010


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