By Shauney Moen, DPT, TPS, Physical Therapy, Therapeutic Pain Specialist
Passion for Helping People in Pain
As I started my career in physical therapy, I quickly realized how many people coming to therapy were dealing with chronic pain. Pain; they have had since a car accident when they were younger, pain from “beating up” their body when they were in sports or a physically demanding job, pain from throwing out their back 20 years ago, and the list goes on. In the 2019 edition of the National Health Interview Survey, they found that 50.2 million adults (20.5%) reported pain on most days or every day. That is a lot of people in pain!
What I Learned From Working With Patients
Many times, these patients would try all sorts of intervention strategies, but nothing would get to the level they expected. Most things would help take the edge off, but it would not allow them to get back to activities they really enjoyed and were missing out on. Therefore, I started expanding my knowledge in chronic pain management. I kept thinking, “there has to be more out there for these patients”. In physical therapy school, we learned the basics of “Pain Neuroscience Education,” an educational supplemental approach to helping patients with chronic pain. Long story short, this approach taught that by learning about your pain and what your body is going through, addressing the pain and neural signals from your body, and reducing the fear of movement, pain can be reduced. By taking continuing education courses in chronic pain, I discovered there was a training program for healthcare professionals called the Therapeutic Pain Specialist certification course that expanded even further on these topics. Sign me up! I completed this year-long course in the Spring of 2020.
Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE) Treatment – Works!
While going through this program, I happened to be working with a gentleman who had been suffering from back pain for 20+ years. He had been trying to manage his pain with pain medication and had tried some therapy in the past, but ultimately, felt like he was stuck at home, not being able to enjoy life, because of his back. This patient was ready to get rid of his pain medication with the help of his primary care physician, and I was there to help manage his symptoms. Through education strategies (teaching him about why he is experiencing pain), desensitization techniques, graded activity progression, and coping mechanisms for pain, this patient was able to get back to activities: being able to work around the yard and on equipment, going out with friends, and he was even able to give waterskiing a try again. Watching his transformation is what solidified my passion for helping people in chronic pain.
What is PNE Treatment for Chronic Pain?
PNE treatment incorporates education about pain using metaphors, examples, pictures, flashcards, and workbooks. We also incorporate other strategies to help reduce pain and improve your everyday function, such as but not limited to breathing techniques, meditation, stretching, exercise, relaxation techniques, sleep hygiene, developing coping skills for your pain flare-ups, aquatic therapy, and how to utilize humor, social interaction, and a positive environment to reduce your pain.
Call Therapy Services at 320.334.5801 to inquire about PNE treatment and if a referral is needed, or keep reading to learn about other alternatives to pain medication, including COOLIEF, physical and occupational therapy, plus more details about PNE backed by medical references.
Our goal is to help you develop strategies to take back control of your life and get back to things you enjoy. Whether you have chronic pain or new pain, you don’t need to suffer.