Throughout the 3.5 week program, various types of treatments and therapies are provided in an integrated program to help each patient achieve success in returning to an active and happy life. The following are the core components of the program (I will go into more detail of each one of them in future blogs):
–Involves strengthening, stretching, and aerobic conditioning.
–Focuses on increasing stamina and functioning, and teaches more efficient ways of moving the body, so that daily tasks become easier and patients will be able to do more despite pain/symptoms.
–Exercises are designed to help decrease fear of movement that can be more debilitating than the pain itself.
STRESS MANAGEMENT & RELAXATION:
–Stress & pain have huge effect on each other – in short, pain cause stress and stress intensifies pain.
–Program utilizes coping strategies to break the pain/stress cycle. Coping strategies are numerous and the stress management classes provide a comprehensive overview of the strategies.
–Relaxation is one of the most common coping strategies for managing stress. Relaxation reduces muscle tension, reduces anxiety, increases self-control, and allows a person to feel refreshed. The program presents a number of different forms of relaxation and encourages daily practice.
OCCUPATIONAL & RECREATIONAL THERAPY:
–Recreational therapy is focused on restoring social and leisure activities that have diminished due to chronic pain/symptoms.
–Goal of occupational therapy is to create a balance between school, self-care, & social/leisure activities. Focus is on learning techniques that increase the control a person has over activities of daily living, as well as helping to increase independence when performing activities.
–Provides information about how physiological processes in the body can be negatively affected by chronic pain/symptoms.
–A computerized instrument is used to measure and increase a patient’s awareness of predominantly involuntary physiologic processes such as breathing rate and muscle tension. Biofeedback then aids the patient in learning how to increase control over these processes and strengthens the ability to maintain control while engaged in daily activities.
–Chronic pain can have a significant impact on sleep.
–Sometimes managing pain by spending time in bed or taking naps can lead to insomnia.
–Because sleep plays an important role in how one manages daily activities, chronic pain/symptoms, and overall mood, the program emphasizes assessment and education of sleep hygiene techniques. Sleep efficiency can lead to a more restful night and an active day.
EDUCATION & GROUP SESSIONS:
–Group sessions are an integral part of the program and are designed to help patients recognize and deal with negative changes and emotions, improve relationships, and become more effective at managing their pain.
–Group sessions are a combination of informal discussions about how lives have been affected by chronic pain and formal lectures on how to effectively deal with pain.
–Sessions focus on a particular theme, pattern of behavior, or area of learning, such as: Stress Management, Anger Management, Assertive Communication, Perfectionism & Unrealistic Expectations, Cycle of Chronic Pain/Symptoms, Planning for a Difficult Day, & Personal Responsibility.
–Chronic pain/symptoms affect the whole family and program offers programming for families to gain a better understanding of chronic pain/symptoms and ways to respond more effectively.
–Parental participation indicates a willingness to learn how to assist your child toward better management of their chronic symptoms.
–Families learn better ways to respond to chronic pain/symptoms, as well as learning techniques to care for themselves.
–Families learn benefits of using a neutral response to pain behaviors instead of an overly care taking or punitive response.
–Parents meet separately and with their child in groups that enhance communication, encourage limit setting and decrease the focus on the pain and pain behaviors.
–Often long term use of opioid medications do little to relieve chronic pain and may cause debilitating side affects that limit one’s functioning and mobility even greater.
–PPRC has a conservative approach to the management of medications. The team works with each patient individually to eliminate or reduce the use of analgesic medications as appropriate.
–Medication reduction has been found to be a successful component of the program.
–Group classes equip patients and parents with medication information on the benefits and risks associated with the various classes of medications used in chronic pain conditions.
Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center (PPRC). Rochester: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2013. Print.