The Pain Self-Management Program: Learn to Control Chronic Pain and Re-Discover Your Life by Drew Bufalini
I’ve had chronic pain for twelve years. I’ll spare you the grisly details. Suffice it to say that after years struggling to be “normal,” I lost everything, nearly everyone and wound up on disability living with my parents.
Today, despite the fact that my health conditions have gotten worse, I’ve moved out of my folk’s place, have a very fulfilling (and accommodating) job; a wonderful (and understanding) girlfriend; and even a smidgeon of a social life (yes, I’m counting visits to sick relatives and work functions).
I became an expert on pain. I devoured every book I could find on the subject. I scavenged the web. I interviewed doctors and fellow patients. I endeavored to exercise. I altered my diet numerous times. I learned to meditate. I volunteered to build up my endurance so I could return to work. I even launched a support group at my local hospital with the help of the American Chronic Pain Association.
To one degree or another, it took each of those efforts working in concert for me to overcome pain and live a purposeful, functional life again. Anyone who knows me will tell you, my pain is far from gone. But it no longer controls my life.
Today, I’m proud to announce that Life Skills Village - the company that first took a chance on me as a volunteer and then again to lead its marketing department – is launching a holistic, chronic pain self-management program. The goal is to turn patients into pain experts and provide the tools to self-manage their chronic pain (beyond simply taking medication).
The curriculum, developed by Dr. Bryan Weinstein (neuropsychiatrist) and Dr. David Cowan (neuropsychologist), is designed to augment any pain physician’s care.
Our psychologists and occupational therapists concentrate on skills pain patients can use every day – like developing a flare-up plan, adaptive exercise, mindfulness, meditation, using biofeedback, improving sleep, managing pain behaviors and improving relationships to name a few.
None of this is as easy as it sounds. Not with chronic pain. To control pain means understanding and accepting it as well as having the courage to tackle it head on. It means keeping an open mind to the therapies introduced. It means managing expectations. Because even though the program meets only once a week for twelve weeks, this will take time. Give yourself permission to try the pain self-management program because it beats the hell out of spending life stuck in a recliner.
The truth about chronic pain is that it will not go away on its own. Nobody wakes up one day magically cured, ambulatory and cheerful. Pain robs what little control we have in our lives and leaves us dangling over a terrifying abyss of uncertainty. Isolating yourself at home will not help you feel better. Self-medication only lengthens the road to recovery. The only way out of the pain labyrinth is to make a daily effort (no matter how small). We can help you take those first steps beyond chronic pain.
Chronic pain may force us to become victims, but we don’t have to stay that way. The Pain Self-Management Program starts in September. Contact me to get started.
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About the Doc
Dr. Bryan Weinstein is a practicing psychiatrist with certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He has practiced psychiatric pharmacology and psychotherapy since 1997. Dr. Weinstein is the CEO of Life Skills Village.