Many people in the world experience pain, which affects their quality of life. These people require effective treatment interventions to mitigate pain and associated disabilities. Peer mentorship programs and self-management strategies should be utilized in addition to other therapeutic modalities. Self-management strategies are defined as the interaction of different health behaviors and their associated processes, which patients engage in when addressing chronic diseases and pain (Hommel, Greenley, Maddux, Gray, & Mackner, 2013). Contrarily, peer mentorship programs entail the use of peers to influence how patients treat themselves and handle pain in the most efficient way. Therefore, pain can be reduced through the adoption of self-management strategies and the implementation of the peer mentorship programs.
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Prevalence of Pain Sufferers Requiring Self-Management Strategies and Peer Mentorship Programs
The number of people reporting chronic pain in the world is high, although it is not precisely known. According to Nicholas (2015), about 20% of the human population in the entire world report chronic pain; studies have shown that a majority of these people experience pain-associated mood disturbances and disabilities. On the other hand, Mann, LeFort, and VanDenKerkhof (2013) explain that chronic pain is worldwide with high prevalence rates, which are difficult to estimate.
However, the rates range from 11-45% in community-dwelling individuals (Mann et al., 2013). Although this problem is much common in older adults, other people from different age groups are also affected, including children. For instance, children who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease experience this type of pain (Mackner, Ruff, & Vannatta, 2014). Therefore, high population pain sufferers include people from all age groups, with older adults being the most affected.
Effectiveness of Self-Management Strategies and Peer Mentorship Programs
The use of both peer mentorship programs and self-management strategies has shown effectiveness in most of the pain sufferers depending on the disease and the level of intervention. Self-management interventions are effective because they teach the necessary skills for the treatment of chronic diseases and their symptoms, including pain (Mann et al., 2013). They target self-efficacy, including practicing skills, addressing emotions, support and feedback, and peer role modeling (Mann et al., 2013).
In their study, Oliveira et al. (2012) found that self-management strategies had little impact on pain and associated disabilities in people with lower back pains. However, the reduced effectiveness in managing chronic low back pain is attributed to the poor understanding of the self-management concepts and meaning in patients (Stenner et al., 2015). Such a thing indicates that although the impact is present, it is insignificant in people who lack knowledge of these interventions.
Individuals who rely on self-management strategies report reduced pain. Mann et al. (2013) explain that these interventions are acceptable in pain sufferers because they not only reduce pain but also improve mental health and all aspects related to their quality of life. A pain intervention strategy should be acceptable in people with chronic illnesses before self-management teaching (Mann et al., 2013). Despite their effectiveness, these people require additional pain treatment modalities. Nicholas and Blyth (2016) reiterate that medical management of pain is insufficient without the involvement of the patient and the peers.
Moreover, Simons and Basch (2016) say that mentorship and self-management intervention in chronic pain reduction is more effective when pharmacotherapy is used than when either modality alone. Additionally, these interventions are patient-centered because self-management teaching is tailored to individual functional needs, which include regular encouragement and support (Mann et al., 2013). Such a thing is embraced by many people, which increases pain treatment efficacy. Therefore, the treatment interventions are effective in enhancing pain reduction in many people because of its acceptability and individualization process.
Furthermore, the effectiveness of peer mentorship programs varies from one person to another, depending on how they are conducted. For instance, programs that entail the use of emails alone to connect youth sufferers and their mentors are less effective than video or face to face peer interactions (Stinson et al., 2016). In their study, Kohut and Stinson (2016) found that psychological treatments that are delivered face to face are effective in mitigating the intensity of chronic pain and disabilities. The provision of face to face interactions give pain sufferers an opportunity to connect and develop significant relationships that cannot be established in other forms of peer interactions (Stinson et al., 2016).
Additionally, social support from peers with similar conditions is much effective (Traska, Rutledge, Mouttapa, Weiss, & Aquino, 2012). Also, the Internet provides a platform through which individuals can interact with their peers from far and unreachable places on the planet. Although the effectiveness of these programs varies, they are significant in mitigating chronic pain.
The widespread chronic pain can be reduced through the adoption of self-management strategies and peer mentorship programs into care. Self-management interventions entail the involvement of patients in pain management after getting sufficient training. These strategies are effective, especially when accepted and tailored to their needs. Contrarily, peer mentorship programs involve pain sufferer and their mentor. The pain sufferers can interact with their peers through the Internet, video calls, and email. Face to face interactions is the most effective programs in reducing pain symptoms compared to the use of emails and other non-face to face interactions.
Hommel, K. A., Greenley, R. N., Maddux, M. H., Gray, W. N., & Mackner, L. M. (2013). Self-management in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease: A clinical report of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 57(2), 250–257.
Kohut, S. A., & Stinson, J. (2016). Psychological therapies for the management of chronic and recurrent pain in children and adolescents. Paediatrics & Child Health, 21(5), 258–259.
Mackner, L. M., Ruff, J. M., & Vannatta, K. (2014). Focus groups for developing a peer mentoring program to improve self-management in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 59(4), 487–492.
Mann, E. G., LeFort, S., & VanDenKerkhof, E. G. (2013). Self-management interventions for chronic pain. Pain Management, 3(3), 211-222.
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