A program to help manage chronic pain

Mary Etheart, PhD, clinician, Parkview Behavioral Health, knows the struggles of those dealing with pain. She sees it every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health and Human Services, over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. In fact, chronic pain is the No. 1 cause of long-term disability in the United States.

But with the escalating opioid crisis, many are searching for either tools for eliminating their dependence on the drugs or alternate approaches to managing that pain, approaches that don’t involve strong medications at all. Here, Mary explains a new program designed to come alongside these individuals and their families.

Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program (CPRP)
Chronic pain includes both the physical experience of pain and the thoughts and emotions associated with it. Parkview Health’s Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program (CPRP) is a comprehensive approach designed to treat and improve the lives of adults suffering from chronic pain. The focus of treatment is on learning to cope with pain in order to function more comfortably in all aspects of life including work, family, social and emotional areas.

The program began over a year ago when Parkview recognized the need for additional resources for patients coping with chronic pain conditions, as well as their families, and their medical providers.  CPRP teaches patients to accept that a degree of pain is unavoidable and offers techniques for building a life around it without resentment, through stress management and other coping skills.

People do not have to be taking pain medications in order to be eligible. In fact, one goal of the program is to help patients learn to cope with their pain without depending on narcotic medications.  A good candidate for the program is someone who is motivated to either get off their pain medications or to learn additional coping skills to improve his/her quality of life.

The staff.
The Interdisciplinary Treatment Team includes:

  •  Pain Management doctors and nurse practitioners
  •  Parkview Behavioral Health therapists and nurses
  •  Physical therapists

Therapies are based in research and are consistent with state and national guidelines for safe and effective interventions for the full spectrum of chronic pain conditions.  All interventions are patient-centered, with a focus on improved function and enhanced quality of life.

With this program, the treatment goals include:

  • Increased effectiveness in self-managing chronic pain
  • Increased productivity, functionality, and success with activities of daily living
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased coping & stress management skills
  • Challenge negative thoughts & beliefs
  • Taper off of narcotic therapy

How the program works.
CPRP is a group program, although individual attention and family meetings are also provided. It is part of Parkview Behavioral Health, held on the 2nd floor of Parkview Randallia, Mondays – Thursdays.

Treatment Interventions include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Psychoeducation for stress management and associated anxiety and depression
  • Relaxation skills
  • Mindfulness practice
  • Physical therapy
  • Tai Chi and Bartenieff movement

Components include:

  • Partial Hospitalization Program: meets 4 days per week from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. for 3 weeks
  • Intensive Outpatient Program: meets 3 days per week from noon – 3 p.m. for 5 weeks
  • Aftercare: free to all participants. Meets once a month for 90 minutes to strengthen skills acquired in treatment as well as discuss challenges and progress made.

A testimonial.
A patient who recently went through CPRP shared these thoughts:

“In November of 2016 I was admitted into Parkview Behavioral Health. While there, I was referred to the chronic pain program. I hadn't left my house for three months and was extremely depressed. While in the pain program I struggled with physical, emotional and psychological pain. We learned breathing exercises, Tai Chi, emotional healing exercises, and ways to help rewire our brains to think positively. With these tools I have been able to interact more and not isolate myself so much.

I am grateful for the opportunity. It first made me realize that my problems were not just something I was imagining. Second it gave me an opportunity to meet other people going through similar, yet different, circumstances. Third, it gave me resources to use when I do have flare ups; alternative methods to using medications. I learned a lot about myself during those weeks. I consider myself a better person for having the courage to go and to take advantage of the program.

Now, I spend time helping with suicide prevention and have started a blog to help others who suffer from chronic pain and mental illness. I continue to use the tools given to me to manage my pain and emotional/psychological issues. I owe a great deal to Mary Etheart and Mary Rondot for these tools.”


To schedule an assessment or learn more about the Parkview Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program, contact Mary Etheart at (260) 373-6876.


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