Chronic pain is generally defined as pain that persists beyond the “normal time of recovery” (typically 3-6 months) despite medical interventions and other treatments.
The Chronic Pain Management Program is a 4-week, group-based, interdisciplinary self-management program focused on skills, support, and education to help participants cope with persistent pain. Services are provided on an out-patient basis only.
The specific objectives of the Chronic Pain Management Program are to help participants:
- Increase knowledge of chronic pain and chronic pain self-management
- Learn and implement adaptive pain management strategies (e.g. pacing, planning, relaxing, goal setting, communicating assertively, and thinking in adaptive ways).
- Remain active and engage in meaningful activities in various domains (e.g., recreation, household, vocational, hobbies, and social)
- Improve posture and overall physical fitness
- Improve emotional health and quality of life
The program is not intended to eliminate or cure the pain, but rather improve individuals’ ability to manage their pain levels and progressively improve their activity levels, both at home and in the community. Over 10 years of outcome data indicate that the Chronic Pain Management Program is effective in improving physical functioning and emotional well-being.
A referral from a family physician or physician specialist is required (see below for referral information). Once referrals are received, potential participants will be contacted by a triage nurse to discuss the program and to assess their ability and interest in attending. Interested individuals will then be booked for an Information Session.
Attendance at a 90-minute Information Session
This session provides information regarding chronic pain, the Chronic Pain Management Program, and the self-management approach. Participation in this session helps potential participants decide whether the program meets their needs and expectations. Interested individuals will be provided with a Pain History Questionnaire, which they are required to complete and return to the assessment by the physiatrist and nurse (see below).
Physiatry and Nursing Assessment
All participants are medically assessed by a physiatrist (a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation) and a nurse. Based on this assessment, ready and willing participants will be referred to the first phase of the program, the Assessment/Education week.
Assessment/Education Phase-Week 1
The Assessment/Education phase takes place over four half-days. Sessions are held from Monday to Thursday between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Participants arrive at noon on the first half-day. The Assessment/Education week occurs in a group format. A maximum of five participants are booked for each Assessment/Education week.
During the Assessment/Education phase, participants’ suitability and readiness for chronic pain self-management is assessed. This week also provides an opportunity to interact with other participants who experience persistent pain. At the end of the Assessment/Education phase, participants, in collaboration with the interdisciplinary team, will make a decision about participation in the next phase of the program.
Treatment Phase–Weeks 2-4
The Treatment phase of the Chronic Pain Management Program is three weeks in duration. It runs from Monday to Thursday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 pm. On Fridays, the hours are from 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. This phase of the program also occurs in a group format, with a maximum of 12 participants at any given time. Individuals receive education, participate in discussions, and engage in practical sessions facilitated by members of the interdisciplinary team. Weekly feedback is provided on an individual basis.
As part of the Chronic Pain Management Program, there are two follow-up group sessions. These occur at 3 months and 12 months following the Treatment phase, typically on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The purposes of these sessions are to monitor progress over time and provide additional support and feedback.
Last updated on: December 2nd, 2016