Pain Science and Patient Empowerment
Chronic pain is complex and can be difficult to treat, leaving both patients and clinicians frustrated. To further complicate matters, clinicians who work with people living with pain have limited non-pharmacological options at their disposal.
That’s why we started the Endless Possibilities Initiative. As two women who have lived with pain ourselves, and have studied pain science, we recognized the need for a new path forward.
For us, pain science was that path. Making sense of our experiences and understanding that there were things we could do about them empowered us to get back to living the lives we want to.
We have lived with pain and also have strong pain science literacy. We are able to bridge the gap between the science and the experience of pain, offering valuable and unique insights to health professionals and resources they can utilize to maximize these strategies in their practice.
Pain science education
We deliver customized experiential learning workshops for health professionals. Our workshops have been developed to present and discuss pain science and patient empowerment through a lived experience lens in order to foster better outcomes for patients and health professionals alike.
Our curricula are based in pain science and stress biology and were developed using the framework of Professor and neuroscientist Lorimer Moseley and physical therapist and educationalist David Butler presented in Explain Pain Supercharged.
Research, and our own lived experiences, has shown that pain science education is effective at reducing pain, increasing function, and improving outcomes, with better NNTs than pharmaceuticals.
Empowering patients with self-management strategies increases their agency and control over their experience, fosters resiliency, and decreases reliance on healthcare.
These evidence-based strategies can be used alongside or within any treatment paradigm and help get people back to meaningful, purposeful, productive living.
Context and Communication
During the workshop we discuss language and communication within the patient-practitioner relationship, including the use of story and metaphor. We touch upon common misunderstandings, misperceptions, and gaps between healthcare professionals and patients and explore how words can harm and which words can heal.
These workshops are also a unique opportunity to hear the patient voice. This is an opportunity to learn more about what it is like to live with pain, and seek treatment for it, from those who’ve been there. This understanding can help clinicians to set more realistic expectations and foster more effective communication with their patients.
In addition to language we discuss other relevant contextual factors that influence pain, education, and treatment and explore ways the clinical encounter can be optimized for successful outcomes.
Taking care of yourself, too
During these sessions we also validate the health professional experience. As people who’ve lived with chronic pain ourselves and sought care from many clinicians, we recognize how difficult the job is.
Pain is not easy for anyone. It’s not easy for the people living with pain. It’s not easy for those who love someone living with pain. And it’s not easy for those of you who treat those of us who live with pain.
Pain treatment is hard and admirable work. So it is important that you health professionals out there care for yourselves, too. So you can continue to live the life you want to.
Who is this for?
These workshops are for any health professional who works with people living with pain. This can include primary care physicians, surgeons, MDs, DOs, physician assistants, nurses, mental health professionals, physical therapists, manual therapists, coaches, trainers, integrative health professionals, and holistic medicine practitioners.
A sampling of 2018 workshops and presentations for health professionals:
April 2018 Montana Pain Conference – Co-presentation with Dr. Chris Caldwell, pain physician, on Teaching Pain Science into the Patient Narrative; breakout sessions on the Pain Science from the Patient Perspective
April 2018 Paincloud Convention in Oslo Norway – The Patient Perspective
September 2018 IASP World Congress on Pain – Pain Science and Patient Empowerment 3 hour workshop and the Innovation Lab
October 2018 Reforming MSK Practice in Manchester, UK – Keynote speaker and panelist: The Patient’s Take on How We Manage Pain; panelist: Maximizing Your Sciatica Outcomes
Let’s explore what we can do together
Our evidence-based curricula are customizable to the group and to your time constraints. Please don’t hesitate to message us, give us a call at 970.235.0607, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
Might you be interested in a retreat for health professionals? Let us know, we may have one in the works!