We understand that chronic pain touches so many parts your life—your work, recreation, and relationships with family and friends. When pain persists for a long period of time, people find that it affects more than their body or injury site. Many times, a person with chronic pain may not notice how pain has changed their mood, outlook, or how they interact with others. It is common to feel depressed, anxious, irritable, or isolated. Our behavioral health specialists are here to support you in managing your pain and working toward your goals.
At Boston PainCare, we evaluate the emotional and social impact of pain on an individual’s life. The behavioral health specialists offer treatments aimed at improving coping skills, reducing the impact pain has on everyday life, improving self-esteem, and improving family and social relationships. We also offer support in weight management, sleep disturbances, and smoking cessation, all of which can be essential parts of pain management.
Behavioral health services include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on the interaction between feelings, thoughts, physical sensations, and behaviors. In chronic pain management, CBT can help patients explore how certain ways of thinking might reinforce their unpleasant feelings and unhealthy behavior. In CBT, patients work with behavioral health specialists to find practical ways to not only change their thinking but also find ways of managing their pain to promote a healthy lifestyle. Sessions usually focus on working toward S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Meaningful, Action-oriented, Reasonable and Time-bound) so that patients and clinicians can measure progress.
Negative thoughts, stress, worry, and muscle tension contribute to the severity of chronic pain. Often a part of CBT, relaxation and stress management techniques can help individuals gain more control over their body and thoughts as well as improve coping with pain. Examples of relaxation and stress management include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.
We strongly recommend you work with a Behavioral Health staff member or attend a BPC workshop to learn more about relaxation techniques. If you are interested in online resources, however, click here for a free, accessible resource.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), is a form of CBT that considers suffering to be directly connected to our response to our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. When we are struggling with physical pain, we understandably try to rid ourselves of these experiences. Sometimes, these efforts to eliminate pain become a source of greater suffering and disability. In ACT, we work on viewing thoughts, feelings, and sensations with an attitude of acceptance. Mindfulness exercises and meditation are often used to cultivate this attitude. The main goals of ACT are to (1) help you accept what is out of your personal control, (2) clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you, and (3) commit to taking actions that create meaning and quality of life.
Mindfulness, often defined as present moment, nonjudgmental awareness, is a mental state that can be exercised like a muscle to promote an accepting and realistic view of our feelings, thoughts, and environment. Mindfulness-based meditation promotes our natural ability to be mindful. It can be practiced while sitting, walking, laying down, or even in our daily activities. Mindfulness has been successfully applied to treat a range of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and stress.
We strongly recommend you work with a Behavioral Health staff member or attend a BPC workshop to learn more about mindfulness. If you are interested in online resources, however Palouse Mindfulness and UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center are two free, accessible resources.
Boston PainCare is pleased to offer a complimentary workshop series. The goal of the BPC Workshop series is to improve the lives of people with chronic pain by providing education and teaching new skills. These workshops cover a wide range of topics related to quality of life, increase in function, and reduction in pain. BPC’s complimentary workshops are open to patients, all members of the pain community, and their families.
The chronic pain support group at Boston PainCare is an opportunity for individuals with chronic pain to come together and share their experiences, offer mutual support, and work on problem solving and empowerment over pain. The support group occurs the last Friday of every month and is facilitated by our behavioral health staff.
Behavioral pain specialists are part of the Medication Management Team at Boston PainCare and help patients stay on track with medication dosing, help increase non-medication skills for managing symptoms, and support patients who are decreasing their medication dose. Behavioral health specialists also conduct brief cognitive screening if our patients seem to have worsened memory, especially if they are forgetting medication doses.
We will help individuals get connected with a variety of community support organizations or programs including in-patient and out-patient mental health and substance abuse programs, home health support, job retraining programs, and volunteer programs.
Rise Above the Storm and You Will Find the Sunshine!