If you are one of the millions of people in this country who struggle with chronic pain, you know firsthand how it can hinder quality of life. You may have explored just about everything in an attempt to cope with your pain – injections, medications, chiropractic care, physical therapy and surgery – yet the pain persists. 

The Chronic Pain Self-Care Program at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) can help. This innovative program will show you how to work in concert with your body, mind and spirit to understand and ease chronic pain through empowering self-care practices. You will learn ways of treating pain that work best for you.  

Because chronic pain is an individualized experience, your particular form of self-care is individualized, too. All you need is the willingness to learn more about how pain is produced by the nervous systems, how it persists in some people, and what you can actively do about it. 

“The more we understand the predicament of chronic pain, the more empowered we are to disempower the pain process,” says Cheryl Van Demark, PT, C-IAYT, who facilitates the Chronic Pain Self-Care Program as part of YRMC’s Physical Rehabilitation Services. 

What the Program Covers
The Chronic Pain Self-Care Program helps you understand the role played by your nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) in perpetuating chronic pain. 

“When we enter a chronic pain experience, a number of changes happen in our nervous system,” Van Demark explains. “This program is about identifying and understanding those changes so you can begin befriending your nervous system to unlearn conditioned responses to pain.” 

Along with exploring the neurological side of pain, the Chronic Pain Self-Care Program engages participants in a holistic approach to pain that explores ways to: 

  • Reduce stress 
  • Feel sensations of comfort and relaxation 
  • Use food as medicine 
  • Face fear of movement 
  • Mitigate suffering 
  • Cope with uncertainty 
  • Befriend the body 
  • Pace physical activity 
  • Develop self-compassion 

You’re in Good Hands
During the five-week Chronic Pain Self-Care Program, participants meet weekly with their peers in a group format. Van Demark and other co-facilitators – experienced YRMC health professionals – foster a positive, supportive environment that has proven successful. The Chronic Pain Self-Care Program requires a physician referral and is covered by most health plans as part of their physical therapy benefit. 

For more information about YRMC’s Chronic Pain Self-Care program, call YRMC Physical Rehabilitation Services at (928) 771-5131. 

Submitted by Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center