Patients with chronic pain often hesitate to take powerful pain meds, but the pandemic has made it difficult to get to physical therapists for treatment. A smartphone may be the answer.
Osteoarthritis is a painful chronic condition that affects nearly one in ten adults in the U.S. Traditional treatments include physical therapy sessions to ease painful joints. Doctors also often prescribe pain management medications. But many patients hesitate to take strong pain killers such as opioids, and over the counter pills may not be effective. And the pandemic has made it difficult to have in-person physical therapy sessions. A new app from Sweden call the Joint Academy allows physical therapists to review patient performance of exercises that they do at home. The system also provides daily support messages and reminders. A published study with a control group indicated that the Joint Academy system is more effective than conventional treatment. The test group saw a drop in their self-reported pain score that was six times greater than the control group. And in another study, the subjects reported a 44% reduction in joint pain. Telehealth and remote patient monitoring are already making a huge impact on how healthcare is delivered.