The analgesic-sparing benefits of texting

Texting may be an adequate substitute for swearing, suggests a study.

The 2010 Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston of Keele University, UK, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain. [They published a paper describing their research: “Swearing as a Response to Pain”, in Neuroreport, vol. 20 , no. 12, 2009, pp. 1056-60.]

But could there be other as-yet-under-exploited non-chemical pain avoidance strategies? A recent study published in the journal Pain Medicine, Volume 16, Issue 4, pages 667–672, April 2015,  found that :

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“Text messaging during surgery provides analgesic-sparing benefits that surpass distraction techniques, suggesting that mobile phones provide new opportunities for social support to improve patient comfort and reduce analgesic requirements during minor surgeries and in other clinical settings.”

In a randomly controlled trial, text messaging performed significantly better than doing nothing, or playing Angry Birds™ on a phone. See: Jamie E. Guillory PhD, Jeffrey T. Hancock PhD, Christopher Woodruff MD, FRCPC and Jeffrey Keilman MD, ‘Text Messaging Reduces Analgesic Requirements During Surgery’

Bonus Question: Could further work evaluate the effectiveness (or otherwise) of sending text messages which feature swearing?

[Note: The photo depicts co-author Professor Jeffrey T. Hancock of Cornell University, which funded the study.]






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