In a new study, researchers found that social media platform Pinterest is helping people with chronic pain cope.
Pinterest helps people cope by sharing self-care and pain-management tips, talking about their pain’s severity, and supporting other people who also suffer from chronic pain.
The research was conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Chronic pain affects about one in five U.S. adults.
Previous studies have shown that …
In the current study, the team examined 502 posts on Pinterest about chronic pain.
They found nearly all pins referred in some way to the severity of chronic pain.
In addition, about 22% of pins described a specific disease linked to chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Moreover, about one-third of pins expressed a high level of perceived benefit for self-care, while 10% showed a high level of barriers to self-care.
The researchers also found about 35% of pins described tips for chronic pain management and about 18% of pins talked about tips for caregivers or friends.
Half of the pins shared some way to problem-focused coping, about 16% of pins talked about how to deal with emotional problems related to chronic pain.
There were also a lot of pins talking about acceptance of the condition.
Most of the pins were from individuals and only a few were from health care or public health organizations.
The researchers suggest that Pinterest is an effective tool that public health organizations could use to share useful information about chronic pain for people who suffer the condition.
People with chronic pain tend to have a higher level of isolation. They may look online for reliable information and effective coping strategies. Pinterest provides valuable information for them.
Currently, health care organizations like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization mainly use Facebook and Twitter to share their information.
The team suggests these big organizations consider use platforms like Pinterest more because many patients with chronic pain express themselves on the platform and search for information.
Pinterest could be leveraged by health organizations to communicate quality information to patients.
The lead authors of the study are Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D. and Eric Benotsch, Ph.D.
The study is published in Health Education & Behavior.
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Further reading: Health Education & Behavior.