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

YRMC’s Chronic Pain Self-Care Program can help. This innovative program will show you how to work in concert with your body and mind to understand and ease chronic pain through self-empowerment techniques and physical therapy. You will learn ways of treating pain that work best for you. Since 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 what chronic pain actually is 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, a physical therapist and certified yoga therapist who leads the Chronic Pain Self-Care Program as part of YRMC’s Physical Rehabilitation Services Department.

What the Program Covers

This 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 working with your nervous system to unlearn conditioned responses to pain.”

Along with exploring the neurological side of pain, the Chronic Pain Self-Care Program engages the whole person – body, mind and spirit – in a holistic approach to pain that aligns with YRMC’s Vision of a Total Healing Environment. The program 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

This multidisciplinary approach draws from YRMC’s diverse pool of experienced health professionals in chronic pain management, to include:

  • Cheryl Van Demark, PT, Physical Therapist and Certified Yoga Therapist
  • Rich Tenney, PT, Physical Therapist and Postural Restoration Specialist
  • Steven Galper, MD, JD, ABPN. Board Certified in Neurology, Psychiatry and Pain Medicine
  • Craig Leicht, MD, Interventional Pain Management
  • Rita Carey Rubin, MS, RD, CDE, Therapeutic Dietician

YRMC’s Chronic Pain Self-Care program consists of five, two-hour classes that meet on consecutive Fridays. Every six weeks you can join your classmates in an empowerment group dedicated to practicing learned skills. There is no additional cost to attend this empowerment group and you are free to ask a support person to join you.

Participation in the program requires a referral by your physician. Please ask your physician to fax a referral to (928) 771-5507.

If you have additional questions about Chronic Pain Self-Care at YRMC, please call YRMC’s Physical Rehabilitation Department at (928) 771-5131.

The cost of the program should fall under your health insurance company’s physical therapy benefit.