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Integrative Treatment For Patients Experiencing Chronic Pain

presented by Cheryl Van Demark, PT, MA, C-IAYT

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial— Cheryl Van Demark receives compensation from MedBridge for the production of this course. There are no other relevant financial relationships. Nonfinancial— No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

Accreditation Check:

The National Pain Strategy (2016) describes chronic pain as a disease affecting more than a third of our population. Participation in this course will prepare rehabilitation professionals to meet the needs of the rising tide of Boomers surging into our health care system suffering with chronic pain and multiple NCDs (non-communicable diseases). Hippocrates sagely advised "it is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than what sort of disease a person has." While health professionals are well educated in explaining the neuroscience of pain and mitigating deconditioning in this patient population, it appears we are ill equipped to directly address how we (patients and practitioners) embody suffering. In this course, the rehabilitation professional will apply Hippocrates' advice to enhance our biopsychosocial-spiritual patient interviews, and integrate simple evidence-informed tools from yoga and other contemplative practices to improve our therapeutic presence and help patients identify and relieve suffering. This metacognitive course will rejuvenate the practitioner and inspire truly patient-centered care for the older adult experiencing chronic pain.

Meet Your Instructor

Cheryl Van Demark, PT, MA, C-IAYT

Cheryl Van Demark is a physical therapist, yoga therapist, and yoga teacher with a master's degree in physical education and exercise science. She is approaching 40 years of helping individuals optimize body alignment, restore movement, build strength, and cultivate a balance in body, mind, and spirit to pursue joyful living. Cheryl is deeply inspired to…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Perspective Taking: Chronic Pain & Suffering

Chronic pain creates a unique biopsychosocial-spiritual experience for each individual. Accordingly, health professionals are charged to re-tool our rehabilitation approach to reflect the multifaceted nature of this disease process, a task that calls for developing metacognition (awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes). Our patients need us not only to explain the neuroscience of their chronic pain but also to forge therapeutic relationships and interprofessional referral communities that integrate effective non-invasive treatment options to relieve their suffering.

2. Transforming Destructive Cycles

Chronic pain is obviously a stressful experience for the patient. It is essential to also recognize treating caseloads of older adults with chronic pain along with multiple comorbid conditions can be quite stressful for clinicians! By integrating basic techniques utilizing mindfulness, interoception, and relaxation on both sides (clinician and patient), we can raise our awareness of the cyclic interrelationship of chronic stress, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, malnourishment, unhappiness, accelerated aging, etc., and design interventions to transform these cycles in ways that positively influence our biomarkers, elevate our mood, and re-emphasize pleasure as a necessary facet of our quality of life.

3. Recognizing and Reframing Fear of Movement

Chronic pain is both an embodied and an embedded experience, and fear of movement is a significant obstacle to recovery. Distinct from what is likely to be a long list of impairments across multiple body systems in the older adult is the meaning the mind has constructed about the real or perceived consequences of moving through the environment with these impairments. The beliefs, values, and emotional behaviors the patient has embedded through their lifetime may become embodied to literally reshape their movement quality relative to real or perceived threats that perpetuate their fear of movement.

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