Our integrative chronic pain program through the Clough Family Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies is designed to help individuals with persistent pain (usually lasting at least six months or more) who haven’t made the progress they would like with a traditional medical approach such as standard physical therapy, injections, massage, chiropractic, etc. Those methods address tissues. This program addresses how your body processes signals from your body.

Do you have any of the following?  If yes, this program may help you.

  • Pain that moves, spreads, or is in multiple areas of the body
  • Pain that changes based on stress/environment — for example, less pain on the weekend or on vacation
  • Pain that started around the time of a stressful event or stress from childhood
  • Important life activities that you’re not doing because of pain
  • Openness to the idea of a mind-body approach

Here’s what you’ll do and practice in the program:

  • Learn how pain really works in the body
  • Learn movements to make you more resilient in your body
  • Learn how to spot danger messages, unhelpful thoughts, and persistent behaviors that reinforce pain
  • Experience mindfulness and other tools to quiet the “danger/alarm” system
  • Work toward doing activities that are valuable to you
  • Identify lifestyle factors (sleep/nutrition) that may be contributing

The focus of the program is not on moving away from pain, but on moving toward the things that matter to you and making your body as resilient as possible so that pain cannot thrive in it.

Appointments are one-on-one with a physical therapist trained in chronic pain, mindfulness, nutrition, and lifestyle factors. If you are interested, ask your therapist if the program could be right for you or contact Steve Lisowe at slisowe@emersonhosp.org.

Facts About Pain

  • 100 percent of the time, pain is processed in our brain. Pain is not in your head, but signals of danger are processed there.
  • Structural changes in the body are often normal and not necessarily the cause of pain. Many studies now show that pain-free individuals have a high percentage of structural changes as shown on X-rays and MRIs (but have no pain).
  • Thoughts, perceptions, and our environment affect pain levels. When babies fall the first time, they only cry after they sense the worry on their parent’s face. A musician who injures his hand has more pain than someone who doesn’t rely as much on his hands. Pain is more intense in experiments when a red (i.e. “danger”) light is present, and less when a green (“safe”) light is present. There are countless more examples.
  • Hurt does not equal harm. Tissues heal — after six months, most body tissues have made a full or near complete level of healing, yet pain can linger.