The last 25 years has witnessed tremendous gains in the treatment of chronic or persistent pain problems. Still, one of the challenges in treating chronic pain is that it remains invisible. No one has ever seen or touched “pain” and yet the person experiencing pain is keenly aware of it. At Partners in Healing we recognize that chronic pain is a highly complex physical and psychological phenomenon that is often uniquely expressed by each person afflicted with chronic pain. Therefore, it is very important that each person’s treatment is developed in a way that addresses their particular needs and circumstances.
Chronic pain has many causes. The body has many natural mechanisms that get generated when injury has occurred that begin the process of healing. As healing progresses, pain typically diminishes and ultimately disappears. Therefore, treatment of chronic pain requires use of many approaches that are tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual experiencing chronic pain. Pain is an important signal used by the body to indicate when tissues are being damaged.
Chronic pain results when, for a variety of reasons, injured tissues may heal but the body's pain signaling system remains turned on. As a result, even when the physical need for the pain signal is over, people with chronic pain patterns continue to experience pain. Since the connection between injury and pain sensations may no longer be present, one part of the chronic pain treatment process involves learning a variety of ways to respond to the presence of pain sensations that no longer reflect danger of injury to the body's tissues.
At Partners in Healing we utilize a comprehensive evaluation process to thoroughly examine different aspects of your life to better help you and the members of your treatment team to more fully appreciate your needs. In our integrated pain management service, the Program for Conscious Living, we teach you to:
- alter the intensity and duration of pain sensations using mind-body strategies
- increase your tolerable level of activity to help re-establish a more comfortable relationship to your physical body
- develop habits that lead to sleep that is restful and refreshing
- learn to address various stress-related factors that drive pain activation cycles
- resolve psychological factors that increase sensitivity to pain and that sometimes set the stage for pain problems to arise in the first place
- learn about nutritional and herbal approaches that can be an important component of an overall pain management plan
PIH does not take the place of your primary care provider (e.g., physician, chiropractor) and does not assume responsibility for management of your medications. We will, however, help you reduce your medications to the minimal effective level. This can help eliminate side-effects common to many pain management medications.
The treatments that we use at PIH for management of pain include:
- Psychological interventions, including cognitive-behavioral therapies, to address relevant triggers and resolution of historical and predisposing events (David Alter, PhD, LP), (Harriet Kohen, MSW, LICSW)
- Hypnosis training and use of guided imagery to impact pain monitoring process in the mind and body (David Alter, PhD, LP), (Deborah Simmons, PhD, LMFT), (Harriet Kohen, MSW, LICSW)
- Group-based services including use of the Conscious Living Program (copyright) specifically designed to improve the ability to self-manage persistent pain problems (David Alter, PhD, LP).
- Chinese medicine incorporating acupuncture and herbal strategies that impact pain sensitivity and produce other energetic changes to allow for improvements in daily functioning. (Diane Tanning, RN, MS, LAc)
At PIH, we begin with a comprehensive evaluation to identify your particular needs and then work with you to design an individualized program of care that will support you in re-establishing health and increase your sense of vitality and well-being. We look forward to working with you on your way to balanced health.