Chronic Pain & Illness Management

Chronic/Persistent Pain

The International Association for the Study of Pain defines Pain as “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”

Pain signals are processed in the brain and the brain draws on a number of other senses and mental processes to analyze what is happening in the body. Thoughts, beliefs, past experiences and emotional stress also contribute to the context in which pain is perceived by the brain. Pain in turn can provoke an emotional response such as fear, anxiety and depression. Chronic pain can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety.

The following chronic pain therapies have proven effective in the treatment/management and relief of symptoms of: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Fibromyalgia, Phantom pain, Back Pain, joint pains, persistent headaches/migraines and other chronic pain conditions.

Chronic pain therapies draw on a combination of Eastern philosophy and practices, and Western Neuroscience.

Therapy may include one or a combination of:  Mindfulness and Meditation practices, Guided Imagery, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and Specialized Therapies such as Neurofeedback or Graded Motor Imagery (GMI). GMI is an approach which has evolved from increasing understanding of the neurobiology of complex neuropathic pain states and involves left/right discrimination, explicit motor imagery, and mirror therapy.

Chronic Disease/Illness

A chronic disease or illness is ‘…a long lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured’ (CMCD, 2011). It is a debilitating condition or disease that is persistent or long lasting (many months) that interferes with an individual’s normal way of living. There are many chronic illnesses and conditions, but some examples include: Allergies, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease & hypertension (high blood pressure), HIV/AIDS.

Being diagnoses with a chronic illness often means multiple changes to our lives. Our work, career aspirations and income can be affected as well as personal relationships with partners, children and friends. In many cases lifestyle changes are demanded by the medical professionals to stay the progression of the illness. This may include restrictions on alcohol and smoking cessation; dietary changes and increased exercise. These are significant lifestyle changes and are not always easy.

Visits to doctors and specialists, and the expense and routine of  medications and monitoring, can also impact on our normal lifestyle and may leave us with a sense of being powerless. Sometimes the number of changes required can become overwhelming and it is difficult to even know where to start.

Short term counselling can help sort out these feelings of being overwhelmed and powerless. A counsellor can listen to what is important to you and how you wish to achieve goals that you have identified.  A counsellor can also link you into practical resources that can ease the financial and emotional burden of chronic illness.

Specialized Pain Management Therapies:

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a biofeedback process that enables the brain to regulate itself. Pain can be the result of the brains response to a trauma rather than an injury itself. Pain can be exacerbated by past trauma and emotional experiences. Working on the trauma disregulation model, neurofeedback is beneficial for emotional regulation, improved sleep and reducing the symptoms of pain or discomfort. Read about LENS neurofeedback here or visit our Neurotherapy Victoria website for more detailed information

BodyLens

Quick and painless treatment for pain and inflammation. Ask our therapists for details.

Breathworks – Pain, Illness & Stress Management

The Breathworks program teaches people how to live well with pain and illness and to reduce stress in their lives. Courses are offered in a wide range of mindfulness skills to ease the suffering associated with pain, long term illness or stress. Breathworks  mindfulness-based courses are recognized internationally in the fields of pain and stress management.

Includes:

  • The pathophysiology and neuroscience of pain and why we continue to experience pain long after the injury is healed, or when no injury or disease is evident
  • Cognitive therapies help identify past experiences and beliefs as well as current thought processes that add to the brains interpretation of pain and thus our pain experience
  • Mindfulness & meditation can relieve persistent pain and reduce the discomfort of chronic illness
  • Learning to engage with the breath
  • Pacing strategies and habit releases that increase opportunities for happiness and enjoyment of life
  • Techniques to alleviate anxiety, stress, distress and panic attacks

Psychosocial Support

Pain signals are processed in the brain and the brain draws on a number of other senses and mental processes to analyze what is happening in the body. Thoughts, beliefs, past experiences and emotional stress also contribute to the context in which pain is perceived by the brain. Pain in turn can provoke an emotional response such as fear, anxiety and depression. Pain can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety.

A mental health professional experienced in pain and chronic illness management can assist where:

    • Thoughts are of a negative nature are not helpful in management of pain
    • Rumination of events are causing poor sleep, appetite or depression
    • Chronic pain or illness has had a negative impact on feelings of self-esteem , self-worth and identity
    • Stress as a result of chronic pain or illness, or additional stresses are exacerbating the pain or symptoms. These may include:
      • Family, relationship or carer stress
      • Financial difficulties
      • Reduced sexual activities
      • Sleep disturbances
      • Altered mood, anxiety, anger, irritability
      • Social isolation
      • Work /career decisions

Graded Motor Imagery:

Graded Motor Imagery (GMI) is an approach which has evolved from increasing understanding of the neurobiology of complex neuropathic pain states. Process involves left/right discrimination, explicit motor imagery, and mirror therapy. For further information visit the Neuro Orthopaedic Institute.

 

Pain Management Resources

Breathworks UK
http://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/
 
Breathworks Australia – (NSW)
https://www.facebook.com/BreathworksAustralia

http://breathworks-mindfulness.com.au 

Breathworks Victoria

Enquires via info@yrcgroup.com.au

www.breathworks-victoria.com.au  (web page in development)

Neuro Orthopaedic Institute
http://www.noigroup.com/en/Home

Chronic Pain Australia
www.chronicpainaustralia.org.au
 
Pain Australia
www.painaustralia.org.au
 
Australia Pain Management Association (APMA)
www.painmanagement.org.au
 
Chronic Illness Alliance (with links to a range of support groups)
www.chronicillness.org.au
 
 

Contact Us

Phone: 0405 971 958
Email: info@yrcgroup.com.au
Address: Belgrave
Victoria, 3160
Australia

Photography:

Matthew Williams: MDW Photography
Graeme Richmond

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Information provided on the website is intended as guidance only.
Please consult your health professional and GP should you have questions about your own condition.

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