Occupational therapist showing patient how to properly lift a container to reduce pain.

Occupational therapist shows patient how to properly lift to avoid pain.

For more than 30 years, Mayo Clinic's Comprehensive Pain Rehabilitation Center (PRC) has helped people with chronic pain return to an active lifestyle. Mayo's pain rehabilitation program was one of the first in the world. Now, it is one of the largest pain rehabilitation programs in the United States, treating approximately 600 patients annually.

The Pain Rehabilitation Center offers three outpatient rehabilitation programs:

The programs use a behavioral therapy approach to help restore physical activities and improve the quality of life for people who have chronic pain conditions. A major emphasis of the programs is discontinuation of pain medications.

The PRC carefully measures program results. More than 85 percent of patients complete the three-week program. Among patients who finish this program, nearly 84 percent report greater control over pain, 70 percent note a decrease in pain severity (despite discontinuing pain medications during treatment), aerobic activity levels increase in nearly 93 percent, and more than 80 percent report a decrease in depressive symptoms. Learn more about outcomes.

Photo of the Generose Building, location of the Pain Rehabilitation Center.

The Pain Rehabilitation Center is located in the Generose Building on the Mayo Clinic, Saint Marys Campus.

The core team of health professionals who care for patients in the Pain Rehabilitation Center include physicians, psychologists, clinical nurse specialists, mental health therapists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, biofeedback therapists, pharmacists, dietitians, vocational rehabilitation psychologists, chaplains and nicotine-cessation therapists.

About Chronic Pain Rehabilitation

Chronic pain refers to pain that does not improve with time. This pain can affect a specific part of the body, as in low-back pain or headaches, or involve many regions at the same time, as in fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis. Chronic pain is more than a symptom of a disease, illness or injury; it becomes an illness unto itself. Regardless of location or cause, chronic pain causes many people to have difficulty functioning in daily activities. They may experience occupational disability, depression, drug-related complications and diminished quality of life.

In many cases, pain treatment such as medications, injections and surgery do little to relieve chronic pain or the long-term suffering and disability that can develop. Patients, their families and their doctors can become discouraged and frustrated. Mayo's Pain Rehabilitation Center offers hope and assistance in reversing the downward course that chronic pain can cause.