Many people struggle for years with chronic pain that has no known medical cure. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t effective options to help people live better, despite chronic pain. To help people work with health care providers to develop a plan that can improve quality of life, the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation has developed a Shared Decision-Making® program called Living Better with Chronic Pain.
This program is intended for people who have pain that has lasted for six months or longer under the care of a doctor, pain that may not have a cure and pain that interferes with daily activities. It is not intended for people who experience pain from cancer. The program is meant to be a starting point for individuals with chronic pain. It describes the steps people can take to better cope with pain by working with providers, setting appropriate goals, trying different approaches and monitoring progress.
The approaches discussed include cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, pain medications, simple changes to one’s lifestyle and environment, support groups and physical and occupational therapy. The program also describes the role of complementary and alternative medicine, as well as important strategies for increasing activity, improving communication with family and friends, and sleeping better.
The program also explains how there is no one right solution that works for every person with chronic pain. Everyone will take a different path, and it may take trial and error before a person finds a combination of approaches that works best. They key is to take an active role in pain management. The program helps those experiencing chronic pain take the first steps in changing approach and perspective to better manage pain.
Woven through the program are the stories of four real patients who have struggled with chronic pain for years. They share their stories and how they found different strategies to cope and live better with chronic pain. A pain specialist and a pain psychologist add clinical perspectives to these stories.
This program was developed with our production partner, Health Dialog. It is available as a DVD, a booklet and a web-based program (Health Crossroads®) for Health Dialog members.