Chronic Pain Program

Recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative and successful programs, our Chronic Pain Services help patients, from children and adolescents to adults, break the crippling cycle of chronic pain and reclaim their quality of life.

Our comprehensive, highly integrated services draw upon the expertise of board-certified interventional anesthesiologists and rehabilitation medicine physicians, as well as clinical psychologists, physical therapists, biofeedback experts, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and recreation therapists. This holistic, interdisciplinary approach allows us to treat the whole person, addressing each issue that contributes to their pain and inability to live life fully.

While most pain management programs focus almost exclusively on medications, we offer the entire spectrum of today’s best evidence-based therapies, allowing us to successfully treat conditions including back and neck pain, fibromyalgia, CPRS, and debilitating headaches.

Conditions we treat:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Arthritis
  • Nerve pain
  • Back pain
  • Pain Amplification Syndrome
  • Cancer pain
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Chronic Pain Syndrome
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Sacroiliac joint pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Hypermobility Syndrome
  • Tailbone pain (Coccydynia)
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Trigeminal nerve pain
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Located within the St. Jude Centers for Rehabilitation and Wellness in Brea, California, our structured program is individualized to meet each patient’s unique needs, but typically involves therapy four days a week—each visit lasting two to five hours—for an average of eight to ten weeks.

For more information about how to enroll, please call us at (714) 578-8716.

Medical management

A patient’s care begins with a thorough medical history and evaluation by a board-certified pain medicine specialist to determine what medical interventions-including medications, interventional procedures, or other pain-reducing treatments-will be most effective.

Each patient’s plan of care targets the physical effects of chronic pain with an individualized program of physical therapy, occupational therapy, medication management, biofeedback and recreation therapy. Functional restoration and improving poor quality sleep are addressed through multiple approaches and strategies.

Equally important, the emotional aspects of pain-such as depression and anxiety-are also addressed through psychological counseling, stress management, and group therapy and education.

If treatment of an underlying medical condition is needed, additional board-certified experts from orthopedics, rheumatology, neurology or other specialties may also become involved in a patient’s care.

Regular conferences and ongoing communication between the patient, family, pain medicine physician, and care manager allow therapies to be adjusted or altered to maximize progress.

Pain interventions and medication management

By offering today’s best evidence-based techniques in the field of pain management, we help patients avoid addiction and destructive patterns of medication overuse, while regaining a fuller, more productive life.

For some patients, pain medications remain an important part of their pain management regimen, but often at significantly lower levels. Weekly meetings with the program’s pharmacist allow frequent communication about medication effectiveness and when needed, adjustments in strategy or approach. Our goal is to help each patient find the lowest effective dose of medication that allows the highest quality of life.

Pharmacological therapy is sometimes combined with treatment options within interventional anesthesiology. Our board-certified interventional anesthesiologist offers a complete range of pain-relieving techniques, including: epidurals, facet injections, trigger point injections, nerve blocks, intra-articular injections, intrathecal drug delivery, radiofrequency ablation, implantable pain pumps, and high frequency spinal cord stimulation.

Emotional and psychological support

Pain profoundly affects not only your physical well-being, but your mental and emotional health as well-which is why each patient’s treatment plan is tailored to address the psychological effects of pain.

Individual sessions with the program’s licensed clinical psychologist helps patients deal with the emotional issues, such as depression and anxiety, that often accompany chronic pain.

Support groups, both during the program and afterwards, offer education as well the peer supportof those walking the same journey - and help reinforce wellness, problem-solving and personal change.

In addition to individual, family and group therapy, biofeedback and stress management techniques increase relaxation and a sense of control.

Services are designed to help:

  • Lessen feelings of sadness, anxiety, frustration, guilt, and hopelessness - and rediscover the power of hope

  • Clarify and fulfill short and long term goals for yourself and your family

  • Regain control over your daily activities

  • Guide you in creating more rewarding connections and relationships

  • Discover a new normal, one that finds joy among the limitations or changes

Additional services include:

Pain Lecture Series

Taught by the program’s clinical psychologist, this weekly lecture and discussion covers the topics most important to your success: how to break bad habits, restoring the support of family and friends, improving the quality of your sleep, managing your anger, developing a healthy attitude, reducing anxiety, preparing to make change in your life, eliminating self-defeating thoughts, identifying and reducing unhelpful behaviors, and setting effective boundaries.

HOPE (Happiness Over Pain Everyday) Support Group

Open to current and past patients as well as community members, this monthly group offers camaraderie, encouragement, advice and peer support from others who are managing chronic pain. Hear stories of success and learn coping strategies from others who have been where you are.

Mindful Relaxation

Through breathing exercises and mindfulness practice, you can strengthen the mind-body connection, improving both your sense of well-being and ability to manage pain.

Join our biofeedback and relaxation specialist to bring the benefits of mindfulness-based stress reduction to your life. Better manage stress and anxiety while adding the emotional and physical benefits of relaxation to your life.

Physical and Aquatic Therapy

Our specially-trained and highly experienced physical therapists offer the entire range of therapeutic interventions designed to rebuild strength, endurance, balance, and core stabilization. Personalized therapies help patients leave behind the weakness, limited range of motion, poor balance and incorrect body mechanics that often develop often months or years of chronic pain.

The end result is increased function and success in everyday activities, allowing patients to walk further, stand, sit, lift or carry with correct body mechanics, and perform daily activities with less pain and greater ease. Targeted exercises also help patients regain the functional strength and endurance needed to return to work or school.

In addition to individualized therapy, patients are encouraged to attend:

Transitional Fitness Class

Join our physical therapist for gentle strengthening and stretching using weights, exercise bands, kettle bells, and other fitness equipment. Developed specifically to meet the needs of those with chronic pain, this class will help you increase your endurance and strength, while giving you the confidence to transition from the program’s structure to exercising in a gym setting.

Pool Group/Aquatic Therapy

Taught by our physical therapists in a warm water pool, you will receive one-on-one therapy. By using only the resistance of water then progressing to weights, patients who have had difficulty with traditional therapy are able to improve their fitness and endurance. In addition to making exercise easier and less painful, the warmth of the water relaxes tight muscles and increases blood flow, helping to decrease pain. After the program, you will have the opportunity to participate in a one-hour group exercise class offering stretching, strengthening and conditioning. Cost of this twice weekly class is $40 per month.

Occupational Therapy

Our experienced occupational therapists specialize in helping those with chronic pain increase activity tolerance, endurance, and safety through simulated work, home, leisure, or school experiences -allowing patients to successfully return to daily routines as well as the things they enjoy.

Pacing, energy conservation, time management, work simplification, posture and body mechanics, problem solving, stress management and relaxation are among the newfound skills that help patients regain their quality of life.

Patients and therapists practice their individualized “tool kit” of techniques and strategies during community outings, errands and social activities-allowing skills mastered during therapy and stimulation to be practiced in real world settings

Biofeedback

Physiological functions-like heart rate, skin temperature and blood pressure-are controlled involuntarily by your nervous system. You don't think about making your heartbeat faster, it just happens when you're nervous, excited, or in pain.

Biofeedback helps you become aware of these unconscious activities, giving you more control over your health and well-being. By promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety or stress, biofeedback has proven highly effective at helping those suffering from chronic pain.

During a biofeedback session, electrodes are attached on your skin or fingers. These sensors send signals to a monitor, which displays a sound, flash of light, or image that represents your heart and breathing rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, sweating, or muscle tension.

When you're in pain, these functions change: your heart rate often speeds up, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure rises, you may start to sweat, or your breathing may quicken. You can see these stress responses as they happen on the monitor, and then get immediate feedback as you practice controlling them.

Our biofeedback specialist will help you practice relaxation exercises and self-management techniques, which you will fine-tune to control your body’s reaction to pain. For example, you might use a relaxation technique to turn down the brainwaves that activate when you have a headache. Or to relax contracted muscles that are a source of pain.

Several different relaxation exercises are used in biofeedback therapy, including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and mindfulness meditation (focusing your thoughts and letting go of negative emotions).

Recreation Therapy

Chronic pain often narrows your world, crowding out the things you enjoy. Our certified recreation therapist specializes in introducing new possibilities and activities, helping to move your pain into the background.

From painting to container gardening to social activities, our once-a-week class offers opportunities for self-expression and growth, reintroduces hobbies that may have been lost, and encourages new interests.

Fun group activities provide socialization, friendship and support. One week, class might feature jewelry-making, while the next week it might include a community outing to practice new skills: a trip to the mall is ideal for practice pacing skills, while a trip to the movie theater can help increase sitting tolerance. To learn more, please call (714) 992-3000, ext. 3706.

Classes and Support

After completing structured therapy, patients can continue to benefit from many of the program’s innovative classes and support groups.

These classes and activities help graduates maintain the progress they made in the pain program, reinforce coping skills and healthy behaviors, get support and encouragement from peers, and avoid isolating themselves and feeling alone. Graduates will develop a support network and information as they tackle specific challenges in managing pain in their day-to-day lives.

Graduates are encouraged to attend:

Pain Lecture Series

Taught by the program’s clinical psychologist, this weekly lecture and discussion covers the topics most important to your success: how to break bad habits, restoring the support of family and friends, improving the quality of your sleep, managing your anger, developing a healthy attitude, reducing anxiety, preparing to make change in your life, eliminating self-defeating thoughts, identifying and reducing unhelpful behaviors, and setting effective boundaries.

HOPE (Happiness Over Pain Everyday) Support Group

Open to current and past patients as well as community members, this monthly group offers camaraderie, encouragement, advice and peer support from others who are successfully managing chronic pain. Hear stories of success and learn coping strategies from others who have been where you are.

Mindful Relaxation

Through breathing exercises and mindfulness practice, you can strengthen the mind-body connection, improving both your sense of well-being and ability to manage pain.

Join our certified biofeedback and relaxation therapist to bring the benefits of mindfulness-based stress reduction to your life. Better manage stress and anxiety while adding the emotional and physical benefits of relaxation to your life.

Transitional Fitness Class

Join our physical therapist for gentle strengthening and stretching using weights, exercise bands, kettle bells, and other fitness equipment. Developed specifically to meet the needs of those with chronic pain, this class will help you increase your endurance and strength, while giving you the confidence to transition from the program’s structure to exercising in a gym setting.

Pool Group/Aquatic Therapy

Taught by our physical therapists in a warm water pool, this one-hour group exercise class offers stretching, conditioning and camaraderie. By using only the resistance of water then progressing to weights, patients who have had difficulty with traditional therapy are able to improve their fitness and endurance. In addition to making exercise easier and less painful, the warmth of the water relaxes tight muscles and increases blood flow, helping to decrease pain. Cost of this twice weekly class is $40 per month.

“Crafternoon:” Activities & Recreation Class

A fun and engaging weekly class that offers activities from container gardening and art projects, to outings in the community - each designed to promote healthy behaviors that pain may have crowded out. This social and relaxing class will reintroduce you to the power of enjoying yourself. To learn more, please call (714) 992-3000, ext. 3706.

More options to help you continue your progress

Within the St. Jude Centers for Rehabilitation and Wellness, you’ll find a wide variety of affordable services and fitness classes to motivate and support you as you continue your progress. Your pain team can help you identify which classes and programs will be most beneficial.

Fitness classes

Gentle Yoga and other exercise classes can be modified by the instructor to meet your needs. Click here for St. Jude’s Synergy Medical and Wellness Fitness Center’s class schedule.

Nutrition and wellness coaching

Individualized coaching can help you take your nutrition and wellness to the next level. Personalized sessions can help you understand the connection between diet, inflammation and pain - and offer personalized nutrition planning, goal-setting and strategies for overcoming obstacles. Click here to learn more.

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