Shared reading could help to ease chronic pain

Shared reading is an interactive reading experience in which small groups of people gather to read short stories, poetry, and other literature aloud.

By using literature that triggers memories of experiences throughout life – such as childhood and relationships – researchers have found that shared reading might be a more effective strategy to help alleviate chronic pain than cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Study leader Dr. Josie Billington, from the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recently reported their results in the journal Medical Humanities.

Chronic pain – defined as any form of pain that lasts for at least 12 weeks – is estimated to affect around 100 million people in the U.S.

Low back pain, severe headache or migraine, and neck pain are the most common forms of pain, with back pain being the leading cause of disability in the U.S.

While there are a number of medications that can help with chronic pain management, they are not always effective. Patients are increasingly turning to non-pharmacological strategies, such as CBT, to help alleviate pain.

CBT is a form of talk therapy that aims to change the way people think and behave in order to better manage mental and physical issues. Studies have shown that the technique may be effective for chronic pain, but the results can be short-lived.

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