Out of the myriads of ways to use text messaging, I never thought that pain relief would be one of them! But that’s exactly what this article from the Boston Globe discusses. A study was conducted involving patients texting while undergoing minor surgeries. The results found that people who texted during the surgeries did not need nearly as much pain medication as people who did not text.
I admit that when I first read the article I was intrigued but also skeptical. Why would texting prove to be a better method than some other form of distraction, such as watching TV or playing a video game? But as I thought about it more, it made sense. For many people, texting can be extremely personal and engrossing. People become absorbed in their cyber conversations, and in some cases even obsessed. While obsession is obviously not a good thing, the engrossing nature of texting helps explain the results of the study.
Another interesting finding in the study was that texting back and forth with strangers was more effective than texting loved ones, in terms of reducing the patient’s pain during the surgery. The article speculates that this is because texting with strangers involved more affirming and positive topics of conversation, while texting loved ones often focused on the surgery and more negative topics. I thought that this finding was insightful and had intriguing implications for texting and its use as a means to interact with strangers/acquaintances, as well as with loved ones.
People are coming up with new ways to use technology all the time. This study is yet another example of people exercising their creativity to take advantage of the tools that are right in front of them. There is so much to explore, and there is so much that we can do!