insights

Cutting-Edge Pain Treatment at the Veterans Administration

teacher students

The measure of success is the [patient’s] ability to live a value- and mission-filled life. Now doesn’t that throw on its head what health care is designed to do?

Henri Roca, MD

The Veterans Administration (VA) leads the nation in pain research and treatment. Their whole health model frames all patient encounters, creating a therapeutic partnership and shared decision-making.1 How does a nine-week group class impact pain scores?

In this Grand Rounds presentation recorded at Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, Henri Roca, MD, elaborates upon the group visit framework used at the VA for chronic pain. He covers many clinical factors, including the following:

  • The role of group visits in motivating lifestyle change2
  • How to assess social support and other pain mediators
  • Mindfulness, nutrition, movement, and stress interventions
  • Why fascia and muscular health must be considered separately
  • Initial and later-stage interventions

If a person has success in any one thing they choose, they are more likely to pursue other things they may not have been ready to choose in the moment. And those things are much more sustainable.

Henri Roca, MD

The goal of the chronic pain management program at the VA is to create a plan for a healthy life. Group classes provide the tools and support for long-term change and measurable changes in pain scores and self-assessment results. Watch this interview with Mark Hyman, MD, and Dr. Roca to hear more about how this approach is changing outcomes for veterans with chronic pain.

 

View more free Grand Rounds Presentations

References

  1. Rakel D, Rindfleisch JA, Gaudet T. The whole health process. In: Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 4th ed. Elsevier; 2018:27-33.e1. doi:10.1016/B978-0-323-35868-2.00004-9.
  2. Sullivan MJ, Adams H, Sullivan ME. Communicative dimensions of pain catastrophizing: social cueing effects on pain behaviour and coping. Pain. 2004;107(3):220-226. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2003.11.003.

< Back to News & Insights

Related Insights

Insights
Group 2

Clinical Spotlight: Swathi Rao, PA-C, & Teaching Kitchens

Studies suggest that many patients do not have optimal nutrition, are experiencing record levels of chronic disease, and are most likely being treated with pharmaceuticals despite the availability of other, less invasive but highly effective options. One such option is to incorporate teaching kitchens into the patient educational experience, like Swathi Rao, PA-C, has done in her family practice.

Read More
Insights
Group 2

Making Connections: Chronic Stress, Pain, & Addiction

What is the role of stress in increasing the risk of chronic pain and maladaptive behaviors such as addiction? How can primary care clinicians help patients manage present-day anxiety and unravel the stressful patterns of childhood? Functional Medicine teaches clinicians how to help patients develop healthy coping mechanisms through lifestyle modifications like exercise, meditation, an anti-inflammatory diet, and more. This therapeutic relationship has the potential to change the trajectory of pain and addiction in a patient’s life.

Read More
Insights
Group 2

A Menu of Strategies for Chronic Pain Treatment in Primary Care

Patients have long sought non-pharmacologic approaches for pain, and they can be highly effective. Yet up to 40% of chronic pain patients report that they are not equal partners in making decisions about their care. Heather Tick, MD, shares her successful approaches for partnering with chronic pain patients on therapeutic lifestyle change.
Read More