New App Arms People with Strategies to Fight Chronic Pain, Live a Fuller Life
The Arthritis Foundation has released a mobile app to serve as a new tool for people living with pervasive, chronic pain. Named Vim, a word defined by “energy” and “enthusiasm,” the app is a direct response to the chronic pain reported by patients in the Arthritis Foundation’s ongoing Live Yes! INSIGHTS study.
Vim arms users with personalized pain management strategies and serves as a pocket-friendly way of tracking pain to help facilitate conversations with their doctor. The all-in-one app is also a master motivator – encouraging people to set attainable movement goals and rewarding them for their wins. And Vim thrives on community: users are supported by a network of other people facing similar challenges.
According to Steven Taylor, Executive Vice President of Mission & Strategic Initiatives for the Arthritis Foundation, Vim was created as a holistic approach to managing pain – putting an emphasis on how pain can severely impact a person’s mental and emotional health.
“Our research shows that chronic pain is pervasive – affecting every aspect of a patient’s life,” said Taylor. “By providing a community of motivators, Vim supports the mental and emotional health of patients – which is the first step in managing chronic pain and living a fuller life.”
Each component of the app is inspired by patient experiences highlighted in the Arthritis Foundation’s How it Hurts report:
Seventy-seven percent of arthritis patients with limited education levels face extra challenges in their fight against arthritis. With Vim, users have access to a free library of expert content in a variety of forms, from podcasts, recipes, exercises, videos and more – spanning topics including sleep, healthy eating and stress and emotional wellbeing.
But no matter their education level, arthritis patients say the more resources they have, the better – especially early in their diagnosis.
For Travis Salmon, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic osteoarthritis nearly 20 years ago, Vim especially would have made the earlier years of his arthritis journey much easier to process. “I spent many years looking for solutions to minimize pain and educate myself about this disease,” said Salmon, 47, who resides in Kansas. “This would have been incredible on my journey to find information I needed to fight my arthritis – but now, with the app, I love that I have all of these resources and support groups right at my fingertips.”
Two-thirds of people with arthritis say pain interferes with their ability to socialize.To combat this, Vim serves as a constant source of companionship and helps people make friends who understand what they’re going through – a critical component of a patient’s social and emotional wellbeing.
“I like this app because it not only focuses on my physical pain, but allows me to assess my mental health, as well. They are interconnected, but often addressed separately,” said Tonya Horton, 51, of New Jersey, who was diagnosed with osteoarthritis five years ago. “This helps extend the conversation about mental health.”
Improved quality of life
Seventy-five percent of arthritis patients say that pain interferes somewhat, quite a bit or very much with their day-to-day activities. The app not only provides users with motivation to achieve their goals but also makes it convenient to track pain.
“Living with psoriatic arthritis for nearly all my life, I’ve had to get creative with how I journal my pain. Sometimes I find it difficult to go to my doctor and talk about my arthritis because I can’t remember the past two days, let alone the past three months,” said Katie Roberts, 45, who is based in Maryland. “I love how Vim prompts me to check-in with my pain every day. And now I have a tool to take to my physician to help update my treatment plan.”
Roberts added, “Even for someone like me who has a good handle on their pain, this app is a game-changer.”
Vim is a living, learning ecosystem – and patient voices help inform how the app is used to respond to a person’s unique needs. People living with arthritis are encouraged to participate in the Arthritis Foundation’s Live Yes! INSIGHTS study to share their experience. For more information about the inspiration behind Vim, download the How it Hurts report.
Vim is available on Google Play and in the Apple App Store; search “Vim Arthritis” or “Vim Pain” to find and download the app. The Arthritis Foundation would like to thank its inaugural Vim app sponsors, Flexion and Tylenol, and would also like to thank HurtSkurt for their support of the Vim app.
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