Leveraging AI for Pain Management

Pain management is a surprisingly complex balancing act. Overtreating pain runs the risk of addiction to pain medication. On the contrary, undertreating pain may result in long-term chronic pain and other complications.  

There is a pressing need for improvements in the coordination of the back-end process. This interface needs to be designed to engage with a multitude of end-users ranging from patients to providers. 

Index of Content

S. No.Content
1.Remote monitoring
2.Virtual personalized exercise coaching
3. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
4.Reinforcement learning

With artificial intelligence (AI), computers can analyze large volumes of data in milliseconds to identify what is relevant to a particular patient, far exceeding the capacity of any human. This increases the probability of a more accurate diagnosis and allows you to choose the best treatment with the highest chances of an optimal outcome. 

In chronic pain management, AI can facilitate in three core domains: 

  • Remote monitoring 
  • Virtual physical therapy coaching 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for pain 
  • Reinforcement learning 

Remote monitoring 

An alarm system can be put in place to monitor your habits so that potentially dangerous irregularities can be quickly identified. 

Through the monitoring of your habits, the app prioritizes your needs according to urgency. If you stop using the app, your caregiver will also be alerted. This telemonitoring can promptly flag any signs of depression. 

Virtual personalized exercise coaching 

Virtual coaches refer to a coaching program or smart device that facilitates remote one-to-one physical therapy support. 

Personalized to match individual needs

The virtual coach can personalize and adapt goals according to the progress you achieve in your recovery from your impairments or disabilities. You can input your symptoms and generate a customized exercise program that is tailored to your needs. 

An accessible and cost-effective home exercise program

Traditional one-to-one in-person physical therapy could be prohibitively costly and also entail long wait times to be seen. 

With AI, a more accessible and less expensive alternative can be developed. The app also uses computer vision technology on your smartphone camera to visually monitor your movement. This enables it to keep track of exercise repetitions and also act as a fully autonomous exercise coach to correct motion and posture. 

Adherence to therapeutic exercise

The use of AI technology as part of rehabilitation programs may increase adherence to self-managed home exercise programs. It also has an alarm function that reminds you to perform daily exercise. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most broadly accepted evidence-based psychological treatment for chronic pain. Pain CBT can assist you in developing an adaptive problem-solving approach to pain management. Also, CBT targets both reductions in pain symptoms as well as their associated disability and emotional distress. 

Personalized messages

AI uses tailored surveys to identify your needs, health benefits, learning styles, cultural context, and other factors before crafting messages targeting behavioral changes. 

While you may be keener to internalize health messages that are relevant to you personally, the data required to tailor these messages is substantial. 

Personalized delivery intensity and mode

The intensity and mode of delivering pain CBT services can be tailored using interactive voice response (IVR)-reported feedback about your physical functioning. It can be measured objectively via perceived functioning scores, pedometer step counts, and progress with CBT skill practice. Based on this real-time feedback, AI-powered CBT will personalize your treatment course accordingly. This may help to achieve the most significant benefits while using clinical resources as efficiently as possible. 

Potential AI-CBT program format

Possible actions the AI-CBT can take include: 

  • A standard one-hour telephone CBT therapy session 
  • A 15-minute telephone CBT therapy session 
  • An immersive virtual reality (IVR) automated session curated to teach and reinforce skill-based learning

Content for each session type will be based on standard CBT programs for pain management, modified by a panel of experts to be most effective given the length and mode of each contact. 

If you are progressing toward functional goals, you will be moved through less resource-intensive options. On the other hand, if you need more intensive follow-up, you will be transferred automatically to more time-intensive, therapist-delivered CBT. 

Maintenance interventions

The benefits of standard CBT diminish after you discontinue therapy. Hence, maintenance interventions are necessary to prolong CBT benefits. 

Maintenance interventions delivered via immersive VR can sustain those improvements in symptoms and self-management skills. 

Reinforcement learning

Reinforcement learning enables the tool to learn how to deliver information that is most relevant to you, depending on the intensity and mode of treatment that you should receive. Those recommendations will be based on contextual information, such as your progress and the progress of similar patients. 

The reinforcement learning algorithm optimizes treatment options by mimicking the way you learn skills through systematic adaptation accompanied by targeted trials of new behaviors with a favorable outcome. It will also incorporate experience from the reaction of other patients who have similar characteristics and response trajectories. Based on this feedback loop, the reinforcement learning algorithm will modify the probability distribution across treatment options and make recommendations for you each week.

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