Can Pinterest help people suffering from chronic pain?

If you’re a Pinterest user, you can likely attest to just how useful this social media platform can be in a variety of ways, whether it be for recipe inspiration, home decor advice, or fitness regimes.

Apparently, though, Pinterest can be used for a lot more than lifestyle reasons. In fact, a recent study from researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University suggests that Pinterest can help people suffering from chronic pain.

The researchers studied 502 posts on Pinterest affiliated with chronic pain. In analyzing these posts, the researchers found that the social media platform “is helping people with chronic pain cope by sharing self-care and pain-management tips, venting about their pain’s severity, and supporting others who are similarly suffering,” an article from the university said.

The study further proposes that Pinterest is an “underutilized tool that health care and public health organizations could use to distribute high-quality, reputably sourced information about chronic pain, a condition that the National Institutes of Health estimates affects one out of every five U.S. adults,” the article said.

In analyzing the 502 posts, researchers found that 98.6 per cent of them made reference to the severity of chronic pain; approximately 32.9 per cent of the posts showed an elevated level of self-care benefits; and 10 per cent detailed high levels of self-care barriers.

Chronic pain management tips were apparent in 35.5 per cent of the posts, with 17.9 per cent of posts offering tips for caregivers of friends of those suffering from chronic pain.

The social media platform may be a source of support and a form of a coping mechanism for people dealing with chronic pain, Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, and one of the study’s lead authors, said in the article.

“When you look at these Pinterest posts, you see people trying to manage pain and trying to help each other and trying to provide support to each other. That is something that could be turned into an effective tool for health care providers and for communicators.”

Who knew Pinterest could be so darn beneficial?

The full study can be found in the journal Health Education & Behaviour. 

Photo on <a href=””>Visual hunt</a>


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