Category Archives: chronic pain

Can an App Help with Chronic Pain?

There are several apps that are designed to assist those suffering from chronic pain, in one way or another. Many are pain trackers or diaries, some help identify and track triggers, others focus on sleep patterns or diet. One app, Curable, purports to help users regain control over pain through a biopsychosocial approach. The Curable website provides this description:


Curable is an online program designed to address the emotional and psycological causes of chronic pain. The program includes:

  • A personal “smart coach” to guide the experience
  • Engaging, educational audio lessons
  • Guided meditations & visualizations
  • Expressive writing exercises
  • Brain training techniques
  • 24/7 access across desktop & mobile

When talking with clients about their doubt that a recommended treatment plan will actually relieve their pain, I often encourage them to try it by asking how much better life could be if they had 10% less pain, or 20% less pain.  Most would agree that even a little relief would still be a relief.

Based on user surveys conducted through the app after 30 days of use, 71% reported some level of pain relief, while 29% reported no reduction in pain. With a 30-day free trial, it seems that Curable may be worth giving a try.

Photo by Daniel Max on / CC BY

Opioid Task Force, Recent Studies, and CDC Opioid Recommendations

Today’s post comes from guest author Kristina Brown Thompson, from The Jernigan Law Firm.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission recently joined many other states (i.e. Massachusetts) in tackling the issue of opioids in the workers’ compensation cases by creating a Workers’ Compensation Opioid Task Force. The goal of the task force is to “study and recommend solutions for the problems arising from the intersection of the opioid epidemic and related issues in workers’ compensation claims.” According to the Chair, “[o]pioid misuse and addiction are a major public health crisis in this state.” 

As of last June, a study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) noted “noticeable decreases in the amount of opioids prescribed per workers’ compensation claim.” From 2012 – 2014, “the amount of opioids received by injured workers decreased.” In particular, there were “significant reductions in the range of 20 to 31 percent” in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Texas. 

Additionally last March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain “in response to an epidemic of prescription opioid overdose, which CDC says has been fueled by a quadrupling of sales of opioids since 1999.” 

Currently, the CDC’s recommendations for prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care will likely follow these steps:

1.  Non-medication therapy / non-opioid will be preferred for chronic pain.

2.  Before starting opioid therapy for chronic pain, clinicians should establish treatment goals and consider how therapy will be discontinued if benefits do not outweigh risks.

3.  Before starting and periodically during opioid therapy, clinicians should discuss with patients known risks and realistic benefits of opioid therapy.