Is back pain affected by weekly monitoring of the pain?

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether weekly text monitoring of low back pain (LBP) affects the trajectory of the pain. It is important to know because self-monitoring is becoming increasingly widespread, and we do not know if frequent attention to pain helps patients to better manage the pain or exacerbates the problem through unnecessary focus. 

Specifically, the researchers examined whether pain intensity, activity limitation, and pain control differed between 1) patients whose follow up consisted of SMS questions about their back pain weekly over 12 months plus questionnaires after 2 weeks, 3 months, and 12 months, and 2) patients whose follow up only consisted of questionnaires after 2 weeks, 3 months and 12 months.

2848 patients from ChiCo participated in the study. They were divided into the two groups. It turned out that the pain intensity was slightly lower in the SMS group, while there was no relevant difference between the groups in terms of activity limitation and the experience of being able to control the pain. Thus, the study showed no negative effects of weekly monitoring, perhaps it even had a small positive effect.

Alice Kongsted et al. Effects of weekly pain monitoring on back pain outcomes: a non‑randomised controlled study.