When it comes to finding ways to help ease chronic pain, there are many things that people can try. Some people will find more appealing than others, depending on their preferences and interests. One treatment technique that has emerged to give hope to those with chronic pain involves reading. A pastime that many take interest in.
Referred to as “shared reading,” research shows that it offers one more tool that people can use finding relief. This group reading help chronic pain to be reduced.
Share reading involves groups of people of up to 12 getting together to read aloud in a group. The group reads literature, including novels, poems, and short stories, and then discusses them together. As they read, they take time to stop and reflect upon what they read and share how they feel. If they can relate to it personally, especially if it makes a connection with their condition. The group participants share not only the reading and discussing of the topic. This topic is selected from a range of genres, but they also exchange thoughts about their own chronic pain experiences. In this way, the group reading help chronic pain lessen.
Researchers compared a 22-week shared reading program with a 5-week cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), if the shared reading helped those with chronic pain. They published results in the BMJ Journal for Medical Humanities, that group reading help chronic pain through the process of validating experiences (1). While the CBT program gave participants the ability sharing their experiences of chronic pain. Their chronic pain was the main topic of discussion. In the shared reading group, the group read triggered memories that led discussions about person beyond the pain, their relationships and work. With this approach, it gave participants time to discuss their lives at a time that didn’t involve pain, and didn’t focus solely on them being a person living with chronic pain.
The researchers believe that the main difference between the two programs was that the CBT program focused on the person and their chronic pain, the shared reading one reached beyond that, including periods of their experiences without pain. They found this to offer more therapeutic benefits than focusing only on the chronic pain that one has. Research found that the CBT participants managed their emotions, while the shared reading participants were able to take their experiences, contemplate and articulate experiences and concerns.
This research offers good news for those having chronic pain and enjoy reading literature, or would like trying shared reading. If you can’t find a shared reading group in your area, contact your local hospital or pain management center for inquiry. You can also consider starting one on your own. There’s nothing to lose with getting shared reading experience, instead it may reduce chronic pain as a benefit.
1. Science Daily. Shared reading can help with chronic pain. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170301105600.htm