Core components

Mayo Clinic PRC programs use several core components to help people manage their pain. Some components may not be available in each program. Core components include:

Group pain education sessions

Each group session has a topic that is presented and discussed with the group. These sessions use a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) model and emphasize learning new ways to deal with the challenges of chronic pain and symptoms. Sessions emphasize skills such as physiological self-regulation, emotion regulation, stress management and problem-solving.

Physical therapy

Physical therapists instruct people in strengthening, stretching and aerobic conditioning. Therapists also educate people about proper body mechanics, lifting techniques, posture, aerobic exercise benefits and pain behaviors. Even participants who previously struggled with being active find themselves growing stronger and more active in a short amount of time.

A young man works with pain rehabilitation exercise equipment.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapists teach people how to effectively balance their daily activities in the areas of leisure, productivity and self-care. Moderation and modification of activities result in functional improvements than can be maintained over time. Return-to-work issues are addressed when indicated, as are time management and office ergonomics.

An instructor demonstrates movement techniques.


Biofeedback provides information about how the body can be negatively affected by pain and other chronic symptoms. Using specialized equipment, biofeedback specialists instruct people on how to regulate breathing and muscle tension while engaged in daily activities.

Two participants works with biofeedback equipment.

Medication management and chemical health education

Opioid pain medications can worsen pain over time and promote other adverse health effects. Other medications also can cause side effects that limit function, and some medications can become habit-forming even if taken as prescribed. PRC staff works with each person to reduce pain or symptom-focused medications over time, with the goal of gradually eliminating unnecessary medications.

March 19, 2020