New wrist-worn device can assess functional impact of chronic pain


Effectively treating chronic pain is a challenge because experiences of pain are very subjective. To select the best treatments, doctors rely on patient perceptions, expensive tests and lengthy examinations.

A wrist-worn device has been developed to monitor movement, elevation changes, heart rate, sweat and skin temperature. The researchers hypothesized that these factors would align with the physiological and functional response to pain. To test this hypothesis, 20 patients with chronic low back pain were asked to wear the wrist-worn device for 7 days and keep a diary 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.

The researchers found a statistically significant correlation between device ratings and self-reported questionnaires. The device has also proven acceptable for use by both patients and physicians. Given these results, development and evaluation of the instrument is underway in the next phase of research and development.

Dr. Christopher Chrzan, 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 Best of Meeting Abstract. Co-authors 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 results in a session on Thursday, November 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health under award number R44NS113740 (PI: Brian Clark).

ASRA Pain Medicine is an association of more than 5,000 healthcare professionals dedicated to advancing the evidence-based practice of pain medicine across the pain continuum, from acute 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 well-being.


American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA)


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