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Pain management groups: Blessing for mental health patients

Pain management groups: Blessing for mental health patients

26 April | 0 Comments | By Rachael

Pain persisting for over one month following anticipated tissue healing or prevailing for at least three of the previous six months can qualify for chronic pain. It affects around 50 million American adults, as reported by National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and is a challenging condition for both the patient and doctor, especially if it is associated with mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

People living with chronic pain have to face a number of daily challenges including loss of pleasure in life, impaired functions and relationship difficulties. Further, patients’ concerns of the pain subsiding or worsening over time, tend to induce feelings of anxiety, sadness, frustration, grief and anger. In some people, this state of persistent pain may lead to the emergence of a mental health problem, thereby leading to poorer treatment response, decreased function and increased health care costs.

Chronic pain is a result of a combination of psychological, biological and social components. However, most of the pain management strategies typically address biological interventions, such as nerve blocks, pharmacology and surgery while ignoring other factors related to the pain experience including feelings of emotional helplessness, distress and loss of control.

Considering the involvement of a complex causal activity in causing chronic pain, unidirectional interventions focusing only on the physical component may not be sufficient in delivering sustainable relief. In this situation, many research studies have advocated the efficacy of pain management groups (PMG) in helping people deal with chronic pain.

Role of pain management groups in managing chronic pain

According to an August 2016 study published online in Pain Research and Management, PMGs can help bring a significant reduction in symptoms of pain, pain-related disability, anxiety and depression. This study was carried out on people suffering from complex chronic conditions and were attending pain self-management outpatient program at Bridgepoint Health, a rehabilitation hospital in Toronto, between 2002 to 2011. Aimed at analyzing the effectiveness of a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and physical exercise-based PMG program through an evidence-based outcome analysis, the results suggested favorable effects of PMG in patients experiencing pain for a long time.

It was a contradiction to the earlier assumption among patient and caregivers that the pain “will never go away.” Interestingly, the positive outcomes of a PMG program were reported to be equally effective for both male and female participants. The most significant changes that participants experienced after attending PMG were improved levels of depression and anxiety and a positive outlook towards employing active coping strategies. It is important to note that the ultimate goal of such programs is not just to decrease pain but improve the overall well-being of an individual and prepare him/her to face hardships of life.

Things to consider before joining a pain management program

While the efficacy of pain management programs in alleviating chronic pain is well documented, it is important to choose the right pain management center. The following check-list can help people looking to join a PMG make the right choice:

  • Is the staff at the center compassionate and humble?
  • Is the treatment center transparent in terms of strategies and goals of treatment?
  • Does the center follow personalized treatment approach?
  • Does the center involve the patient and family while chalking out treatment strategies?
  • Is the center equipped with requisite machinery and human resources to offer treatment?
  • Does the center have a monitoring and follow-up process in place?

Road to recovery

For more inquiries pertaining to pain management groups and mental health disorder treatment centers in Arizona that offer effective programs in helping one regain control of one’s life, contact the Arizona Mental Health Helpline. Chat online or reach us at our 24/7 helpline (866) 606-7791 to know about some evidence-based mental health treatment centers in Arizona.