Listen to your pain heartbeat
Chronic pain can feel like a roller coaster ride.
One of the greatest challenges of living with chronic pain is grappling with how unpredictable pain can be from day to day. Pain fluctuates like it has a mind of its own.
To understand how pain patterns change for different people, Aivo developed a measurement called the “pain heartbeat.” Your pain heartbeat is the vital sign that reflects the unique rhythm of your pain as it ebbs and flows throughout the day. The rhythm of your pain may change every day based on your sleep, mood, activity level, mindset, and medication use. By using the Aivo app to enter daily pain ratings, you can learn how your pain heartbeat charts a pathway for your pain relief.
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How does Aivo measure your pain heartbeat?
Aivo listens to your pain heartbeat by tracking daily pain ratings over weeks and months. By using the Aivo app twice a day to rate your pain on a 0-10 scale (with 0 representing absence of pain and 10 representing your worst pain), the Aivo app creates a moving timeline of your pain from day to day. The beauty of the pain heartbeat is that you don’t need to focus your attention on how pain changes over time because the app tracks it for you.
We developed the pain heartbeat to solve a far-reaching problem in conventional pain management: the rampant overreliance on a single pain score to make decisions about pain management. Traditionally, health providers monitor pain by collecting a single number every few months. Every time you come to a visit, they ask you to summarize your entire pain experience with a single number. By reducing your pain to a single number, these estimates capture a tiny snapshot of your entire pain experience. It’s not surprising that so many traditional pain interventions fail when health providers don’t bother to properly monitor how pain changes on a daily basis!
Your pain heartbeat reveals opportunities for relief
Let’s take a closer look at how the pain heartbeat can be used in pain management. Aivo uses the pain heartbeat in the following five ways:
1. Detect pain flares before they happen
Pain flares are distressing surges in pain severity that can last hours, days, weeks, and even months. Everyone experiences flares differently. Flares may interrupt your flow of daily activities or even leave you bed-bound and reaching for extra medication. What many people don’t realize is that you may be able to prevent pain flares from happening by closely tracking how your pain changes over time.
By tracking your pain heartbeat, Aivo algorithms identify unusual increases in pain as they happen and immediately informs your health coach that you may be moving into a pain flare. When your health coach gets this notification, he or she will message you in the Aivo app’s clinic chat and ask how you’re doing. This is the perfect time to ramp up coping strategies, soothe your nervous system with relaxation and deep breathing, and practice self-compassion. By proactively increasing your self-care before a pain flare hits, you can actually reduce the intensity of pain flares or prevent them completely.
2. Benefit from support during pain flares
Let’s be honest. When you are in the middle of a pain flare, it can be tough to focus on even the simplest things. Fortunately your Aivo health coach actively monitors your pain heartbeat on a daily basis. If you’re in the middle of a pain flare, your coach will reach out to you and ask you how they can support you. Be honest with yourself and with them. Do you need empathy and encouragement? Do you need practical tips? Do you need a new guided meditation to distract you?
The Aivo app gives you real human connection because we know how isolating pain can be. When you need real human support, reach out to your health coach.
3. Understand the impact of mood on pain
The emotional experience of pain is just as important (if not MORE important) than the sensory experience of pain. In fact, mood can actually change how you experience pain.
In addition to the pain heartbeat, Aivo also tracks a daily mood heartbeat to understand how mood and pain interact over time. The interplay between pain and mood helps members understand how stress impacts pain, which can lead to more proactive coping strategies during stressful situations.
The pain-mood interaction can also be used to identify opportunities to inject daily life with more pleasure, joy, and relaxation. By increasing how often you feel positive emotions, you are actively strengthening memories related to pain relief in your brain’s neural pathways.
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4. Find opportunities for relief learning
The optimal time for new learning occurs when pain is reducing or low intensity. By using the pain heartbeat to identify windows of time when pain is low, we encourage our members to take advantage of these windows of opportunity by engaging with our pain neuroscience educational material and practicing new coping skills.
When pain is low, it’s also the perfect time to focus on positive emotional learning. Savor the taste of your morning coffee, soak in the day’s sunshine on a long walk, listen to your favorite song in the shower, or catch up with a friend you haven’t seen for a while. If you notice feeling happy, calm, relaxed, joyful, or playful, stop what you’re doing and let the emotion really sink in. By taking time to focus on positive emotional experiences, you are actively retraining your brain to feel relief more deeply.
5. Identify treatments that work
The pain heartbeat allows us to give each member continuous pain care. The most powerful way Aivo does this is through tracks, which are 3 to 5 day lessons delivered through the app that focus on specific pain recovery interventions. Aivo tracks allow you to self-manage pain through six types of treatments:
-Learn tracks give you pain neuroscience education, created for Aivo by expert chronic pain neuroscientists.
-Adapt tracks provide insightful cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques that help you redefine the role pain plays in your daily life.
-Move tracks offer gentle movement challenges that help you expand range of movement and gradually build stamina.
-Relax tracks provide guided meditations specifically designed for pain relief.
-Sleep tracks help you trouble-shoot and optimize sleep hygiene.
-Connect tracks recommend creative ways to reach out to family and friends so you feel more socially connected and less isolated.
Our algorithms monitor which types of tracks lead to immediate pain relief, so your care plan is customized to deliver the most effective treatments for your unique pain experience.
Relief is just a heartbeat away
The pain heartbeat is a new way to make sense of your pain. By faithfully entering your pain, mood, and sleep ratings twice a day, you are actively improving the quality of care that Aivo gives you. Consistent ratings lead to a detailed pain heartbeat that accurately reflects the ebb and flow of your pain from day to day.
Your pain heartbeat is the key to personalized care during pain flares, optimal treatment selection, timely health coach support, and a deeper understanding of your pain experience. By understanding the inner logic of your pain, you can forge a path forward to full recovery.
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