The phrase ‘there’s an app for that” continues to ring true. For example, there are numerous apps that encourage health and fitness, as evident in this blog post. Apps append to many areas of life – from playing a weird and wonderful game, to sorting out your bills, and yep – even helping to heal chronic pain.
If you’re one of the many people that suffer from chronic pain, you might have heard that techniques like CBT, mindfulness, graded exposure, pacing (and so much more) can help you effectively manage pain. Trouble is – it’s hard, and often super expensive to meet with a pain specialist who can advise you on all this.
As such, a growing number of apps are attempting to solve this problem. To make chronic pain therapy digital.
Pathways is one of those apps. It was founded by a chronic pain sufferer (Sandip) who spent years dealing with persistent pain. Sandip spent over 4 years attempting to solve his RSI pain with every conventional treatment he could think of. He went through years of failed treatments that culminated in two unnecessary and invasive surgeries.
It’s only once Sandip stumbled across the science of chronic pain, was he able to make fundamental changes to the way he dealt with his pain; leading to a 100% recovery within just three months!
How was this possible? Sandip learnt that pain is so much more than just a signal meaning something in the body is damaged. Once pain becomes chronic, our pain system becomes sensitized and overactive. Factors such as expectations of pain, a belief that your body is damaged and fear of pain can be enough to trigger real physical pain.
Sandip realized that his thoughts and actions had inadvertently been sustaining his pain. He overhauled it all, and reaped the benefits.
It was the realization of how many millions of people remain trapped by chronic pain, that drove him to create Pathways.
Pathways isn’t the only app helping people with chronic pain. There are many great chronic pain apps out there. Some focus on tracking pain triggers, others work to connect you with a like minded community, and some provide you with simple, relaxing distractions when you’re experiencing a pain flare.
Sandip believes that digital pain solutions will be a core part of treatment plans in the future. And the pandemic we’re currently living through is a great example of how we need more of this.
Some fear that a focus on digital health technology will lead to a lack of that much needed, reassuring in-person treatment. And I’d agree – if we focus on just pushing tech solutions to patients, that could easily lead to patients feeling disconnected. What’s key is keeping in-person contact where it’s needed and is most effective, and allowing tech to handle the rest of it.
For example, it’s important that pain sufferers understand the science of pain so that they can have more confidence in managing their symptoms. But it’s not practical for a pain specialist to spend 20 mins talking about this, when an engaging, well-worded video could do just as good of a job.
There’s some way to go until digital health tech is really embedded in patient treatment. And once we get there, I believe this will help many people get past pain (and other ailments) much quicker than they otherwise would.