M46 — November 2012 — Pain Rehab
Intro: Pain. Every day. All day. More than one-fourth of all people in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain. It can destroy quality of life, and make even the simplest tasks difficult. Sometimes there is no cure for chronic pain. But a program at Mayo Clinic helps give patients the tools they need to get control over their pain and regain a fulfilling life.
I do have a headache every single day, I wake up with one and I go to sleep with one.
For ten years Alyson Fleming has endured chronic headaches.
The daily headaches and migraines plus pain from other medical conditions slowly eroded Alyson's quality of life. It affected everything. She felt caught. Trapped by unyielding pain.
I didn't know how I could possibly manage this amount of pain.
Unwilling to let the pain dictate how she lived, Alyson went to Mayo Clinic where she enrolled in the Pain Rehabilitation Center: a three-week, out-patient intensive program designed to help people suffering from non-cancerous chronic pain regain control of their lives.
You can improve your level of physical and emotional functioning. And then when you improve management of chronic pain, oftentimes pain severity or pain intensity will improve. However, that's not the primary goal.
Dr. Michael Hooten says there's sometimes no cure for chronic pain, so the goal of the program is to give people the tools they need to manage it.
To regain controls back over their lives that the chronic pain has taken away.
Psychologist Dr. Cynthia Townsend and Dr. Hooten team up with physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses and other specialists to help with all aspects chronic pain. Things like group sessions, exercise, biofeedback and support from others going through the same thing boost confidence. Patients learn that they can taper off medications. They can craft a plan to help them turn painful days into fulfilling days. They can stop pain from running their lives.
I've had people come into this program in a wheelchair or a walker, they have difficulty moving around. They graduate from the program and they've got their mobility back, they're active they're engaged in life, they're laughing again.
Alyson still has a headache every day. But the pain is no longer all-consuming because she's learned how to manage it.
I felt like I lost a little bit of myself over the past 10 years and now to be back to where I was is very fulfilling.
For Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Vivien Williams.
People who graduate from the Pain Rehabilitation Center can go back for refresher courses to help them stay on track. Dr. Townsend says 90-percent of all people who enroll in the program graduate and 80-percent report long term success at managing their pain.
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