Chronic Pain

What is Pain?

Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Many times, pain originates as a result of an injury or illness. In these cases, pain is a mechanism used by your body to promote healing by attempting to restrict movement and prevent further injury to the area.

Pain usually stops once the healing process is complete. However, there are times when pain continues to exist long after the original injury heals. Pain that continues longer than 6 months after healing has occurred is often referred to as “Chronic Pain”.

Pain is a highly complex condition that is experienced differently by every person. Research shows that in addition to the physical causes of pain, a variety of factors contribute to the existence of pain, including biochemical and psychophysiological changes in your body, your situation at work, relationships with family and friends, dietary habits, daily activities, stress levels and even cultural background.

  • Depression & isolation
  • Lack of interest and difficulty in relating
    to family, friends and co-­workers
  • Increased levels of anxiety & stress, especially financial stress due to time away from work
  • Lack of intimacy

 

  • Stomach problems
  • Memory difficulties
  • Chronic fatigue

As these conditions develop, they have a dramatic affect on a person’s occupation, social activities, relationships, mental well­being and daily behaviors.

This creates an unfortunate cycle, with pain causing new problems, which in turn causes more pain. The cycle continues, leaving a person feeling helpless and out of control, with no end in sight to their suffering.

Breaking the Cycle
In order to stop the pain cycle and effectively treat pain, it is necessary to address the many different components that make up pain. Therefore, a program that focuses on a person’s biomedical, physical, biochemical, psychological, social, occupational and behavioral well-­being is the key to successful pain recovery.

The Cycle of Pain
Patients with chronic pain often begin to experience a variety of pain related issues that seriously begin to affect the quality of their life. Common problems include:

• An increase in the severity and frequency of pain
• The appearance of new or referral pains
• Difficulties with sleep
• Sense of helplessness and low self-esteem

116 Million People

The number of people impacted by chronic pain is more than the total affected by heart disease cancer & diabetes combined.
(IOM, 2011)

Chronic pain is the largest and most costly health epidemic in the world, affecting 1.5 billion people. In the U.S. alone, over 116 million adults and 1 in 5 children suffer with chronic pain at an annual cost of $635 billion.  Given the burden of chronic pain on human lives, dollars, and social consequences, with only 5% of medical schools offering training in chronic pain, creating a viable delivery infrastructure to reverse this escalating problem has become a national priority. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the National Institute of Health (NIH), Congress and the Army Surgeon General issued a call-to-action urging for transformation in chronic pain prevention, care, education and research to address the growing epidemic.

Repetitive Strain Injury

Chronic neck, shoulder, arm and hand fatigue
Chronic stiffness, heavy feeling or cold hands
Numbness or tingling, pain in the hands, elbows, arms or neck
Interrupted sleep due to discomfort or pain in your hands or arms
Feeling of clumsiness, difficulty with pinching or buttoning tasks

You may suffer from Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI. Sometimes called “the disease of doing,” RSI is a stress-related injury that is presently growing in epidemic proportions in our fast-paced culture. It is a result of inattention to the cumulative, constant repetitive movements, awkward and unnatural body postures, and insufficient rest periods that many of us experience in our work lives.

The GPI Behavioral Medicine Program for Repetitive Strain Injury is an outpatient program that helps patients with RSI reduce/manage physical symptoms and restore body awareness and respect for the body/mind natural rhythm of work and rest.

This interdisciplinary approach, led by a staff of professionals, employs a range of mind/body strategies to guide patients to become empowered participants in their own health care. This research and evidence-based clinical program enables participants to become confident in their ability to manage their RSI symptoms effectively.

Physical and psychological changes often occur and grow more serious with repetitive strain injuries. Clinical findings show that these changes can be prevented and/or greatly improved through interdisciplinary behavioral medicine treatment.

Program for Chronic Pain and Fatigue

  • Over 116 million Americans, live in chronic, debilitating pain. Many have endured years of agony and undergone two or more failed surgeries seeking pain relief. 50 million are partially or completely disabled.
  • Chronic pain accounts for more than 80 percent of all physician visits, and yet the majority of providers have little or no training in multidimensional pain medicine and management (National Pain Foundation)
  • Despite the physical and financial toll, millions of people suffer needlessly, unaware of effective pain management options.
  • The GPI Programs for Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue are designed to help individuals improve function and reduce and/or eliminate pain, suffering and regain a sense of control and well-being. 

 

The Programs integrate the leading advances in evidence/science-based behavioral medicine with regard to health, symptoms and pain reduction. By engaging in these practices, patients are on the cutting-edge of healthcare.

These science-based Mind/Body medical programs have become a treatment of choice for increasing numbers of individuals suffering from chronic pain and work related injuries, and is clinically proven to improve complex, interacting pain, fatigue, disability and related symptoms, including decreasing stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue.

Individuals who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome experience a variety of symptoms including debilitating fatigue, headaches, muscle tenderness, sleep disturbance, fever, sore throat, skin rashes and difficulty concentrating. Behavioral medicine techniques are highly effective in reducing suffering from these symptoms.

Generally, after completing an interdisciplinary functional restoration program, patients are able to significantly lower the frequency, intensity and in other cases eliminate their pain and fatigue altogether depending on the underlying causes.

Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Depression is one of the leading causes of suffering and disability. Its symptoms include a persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood, feelings of hopelessness, pessimism and worthlessness, and a loss of interest in hobbies and activities once enjoyed. Depression can affect anybody and does – from business owners and CEO’s of multinational corporations, to mothers, doctors, children, school teachers and laborers, stress, anxiety and depression knows no boundaries.

The psychological symptoms of depression are just the tip of the iceberg. Because the brain is the body’s “control center,” the effects of depression spread throughout the body, often resulting in increased levels of pain and problems with sleep, appetite, energy level, motivation, memory, and concentration. Performing everyday activities can be an enormous challenge for people who are depressed.

Work Related Injuries

A New Dimension for Work Related Chronic Pain

Often after a work-related injury, there is incomplete treatment and recuperation, and little support for the individual, and even less for family members, and particularly the children of an injured worker. This is of particular concern since the damaging effect of an injury is not limited to the employee, but often affects the entire family.

Generally, individuals suffering from chronic pain from an accident are anxious about recovery, tense from their pain, constantly worried about being able to pay bills, apprehensive about maintaining, losing or getting work, and often feel helpless and hopeless about their current situation. This high level of stress is exhausting and often leads to feelings of depression, making it that much more difficult to maintain personal relationships, and care for family members. This heightened level of stress also makes most symptoms worse, particularly pain.

The Pain/Medical Symptom Reduction Program for Work-Related Injuries is designed to help individuals reduce pain, suffering and regain a sense of control and well-being.