Geisinger’s multidisciplinary pain management program can help
People who live without pain probably don’t think much about it until they get injured. Then pain — and making pain go away — become a priority. And luckily, acute pain from an injury can usually be managed with opioid or other medications and, eventually, it should go away.
But some people live with pain all the time. Pain that lasts longer than three months is known as chronic pain — and it can affect every aspect of a person’s life. “It’s not uncommon for people suffering from long-term pain to try to treat the problem themselves with over-the-counter medications,” explains Dr. John Han, a fellowship-trained pain management specialist at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. “When the pain persists — or becomes unbearable — they contact their doctors.”
In the past, people were often prescribed opioid medications to help manage chronic pain. But today, many doctors are looking for other options as opioids come with the serious risk of addiction. “Death rates from opioids in our region are four times greater than that of New York City,” says Dr. Han. “Our goal is to change that. Since 2014, Geisinger has reduced opioid prescriptions by nearly half, and we’ve had great success with helping people who are addicted recover.”
Alternative therapies that work with the body’s natural healing processes do exist. And Geisinger’s multidisciplinary pain management program is designed to help patients who suffer from chronic pain find the right solutions. Such solutions may include:
- Mindfulness and meditation: Focusing on and allowing pain into individual body parts can actually help reduce pain. Incorporating deep breathing techniques, stretching and relaxing into your day on a regular basis can make a big difference.
- Physical therapy and movement: Moderate exercise, such as walking for just 30 minutes, can help reduce your pain.
- Yoga: Improving your balance helps build strength, which can be beneficial in areas that may be weakened by pain. Yoga not only helps increase your strength in a gentle manner, it also stretches and relaxes fatigued and painful muscles.
- Diet and nutrition: Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, including high-fiber fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole foods, can help reduce pain. Our nutritionists can help you determine which foods are right for you.
- Support groups: Talking with other people who suffer from chronic pain might be the most beneficial aspect of our program. Knowing you’re not alone can make a difference.
In most cases, participants in the multidisciplinary pain management program benefit by pursuing a combination of these therapies. Pain medication is available, but it isn’t the focus. The alternative therapies work so well that the program has reduced patient opioid usage and improved their overall quality of life.
Interested in learning more about our multidisciplinary pain management program for yourself or a loved one? Click here for more information.