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Chat rooms may help seniors battling chronic pain

March 20, 2013

Millions of seniors battle chronic pain on a daily basis, and the condition can certainly make independent living difficult. While there are many remedies available to alleviate the discomfort, new research suggests that something as simple as logging into a chat room can offer some significant benefits.

The study, published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, was focused on uncovering what obstacles prevent chronic pain sufferers from finding relief. Researchers determined that patients often lack connections to people who share their experiences and sometimes are discouraged from talking about their pain. However, turning to an online community comprised of people going through the same thing can provide a useful outlet.

"Online chat rooms may provide another outlet for support for chronic pain sufferers and may work towards removing barriers this population often experiences," said Brenda K. Wiederhold, the journal's editor-in-chief.

Chronic pain is a serious issue among the senior population. According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 50 percent of adults who live at home, and as much as 80 percent of seniors who live in care facilities, have chronic pain. These findings suggest implementing the use of technology could offer some relief for this large segment of the retired population.