A Phase I Small Business Intervention Research grant has been awarded to Pro-Change Behavior Systems by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). An online, mobile-optimized interactive pain self-management program for chronic musculoskeletal pain will be developed for veterans that: 1) provides feedback matched to an individual’s readiness to use helpful pain coping skills, improve sleep hygiene, and manage stress; 2) leverages social networking; 3) includes personalized text messages; and 4) uses principles of gaming for health to engage users. A panel of Veteran advisors with chronic pain and experts in pain self-management, gaming, plain language, and multiculturism will inform the design of a program prototype. Focus groups and usability tests will also be conducted to assess the usability and acceptability of the program prior to a 30-day pilot study.

This research is significant given the enormous public health burden of pain and the fact that Veterans are disproportionately affected by chronic pain. Experts in the field are calling for innovative interventions that utilize technology to increase the accessibility of evidence-based treatments. Sara Johnson, Ph.D., Senior Vice President at Pro-Change, explained that unlike any existing pain interventions, the program Pro-Change is developing will be tailored specifically to Veterans’ readiness to adopt self-management and preference for pain management strategies.