Improving Pain Treatment with Mindfulness
Pain is more than physical sensation resulting from tissue damage. It is a complex process of perception that includes the interaction of sensory information, cognition, and emotion. Because some patients do not improve with interventions targeting peripheral structural impairment alone, treatment strategies that address all factors influencing a patient’s pain experience are needed, such as mindfulness training. For patients in pain, mindfulness training has been shown to improve function and mood and reduce pain intensity, opioid craving, and health care utilization. Mindfulness may promote pain relief through improved body awareness, cognitive and emotional regulation, and reduced stress reactivity. In addition, when mindful, patients experience pain as a sensation in flux rather than a self-defining, fixed state. Mindfulness training combined with pain neurophysiology education provides patients with skills to reverse maladaptive pain processing by the nervous system and promotes their active role in managing pain. This session will present the evidence for the role of mindfulness in relieving pain and improving function. Attendees will practice mindful breathing, body scan, and movement, and learn how mindfulness helps patients self-regulate reactions to pain and stress.
***This course incorporates interactive breathing techniques***
Carolyn McManus, PT, MS, MA: has specialized in the care of people with persistent pain throughout her over 30-year career. She joined the staff in the Outpatient Rehabilitation Department at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle in 1998 where she designed and is an instructor for Swedish’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program, an 8-session group program that offers patients instruction in mindful awareness, body awareness, gentle yoga and additional stress and pain reduction strategies. She also developed and teaches a class on pain science for patients with chronic pain. In addition, she is a research associate at the Puget Sound VA Health Care System in Seattle where she provides veterans instruction in mindfulness meditation in onging research. She was a mindfulness instructor for the Group Health Center for Health Studies’ pioneering research on mindfulness and back pain published in the Journal of the American Medical Association 2016;315(12):1240-9. She is a course instructor for Herman and Wallace, providing professional continuing education training on the topic of mindfulness-based pain treatment. She is an author and national speaker, and has previously presented at NEXT and CSM conferences. She earned a Master’s degree in physical therapy in 1980 from Duke University and a Master’s degree in psychology in 1991 from Antioch University. She has practiced mindfulness meditation for 30 years.
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Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to understand:
1. Define mindful awareness.
2. Discuss proposed mechanisms underlying the beneficial outcomes of mindfulness training for patients in pain.
3. Apply 3 mindful attitudes to breathing, body awareness and exercise instruction.
4. Identify online and print resources for additional patient and professional training in mindful awareness.
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