Millions of people in the United States suffer from a form of chronic pain, whether due to injury, surgery, nerve damage, infections, or a variety of other causes. The discomfort caused by chronic pain can significantly impact a person’s mental health and overall happiness. At Nelmar Health Centers, we help clients to discover the root cause of their chronic pain and develop treatment plans that offer meaningful relief and help improve their quality of life.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
The symptoms of chronic pain can vary across clients and can include dull or sharp aches, throbbing or stinging sensations, burning, joint pains, soreness, or stiffness, among others. These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by fatigue, lack of appetite and motivation, sleeping problems, and mood problems, including depression, anxiety, and irritability. Living with chronic pain can interfere with daily life and can have a significant negative impact on a client’s mental health and overall well-being.
Diagnosing Chronic Pain
Because pain is quite subjective - meaning only the person experiencing it can identify and describe it - it can be somewhat difficult to diagnose and determine the root cause. At Nelmar Health Centers, we use a series of tests and procedures, along with a comprehensive review of symptoms and medical history to understand the cause for every client’s pain.
Treatment of Chronic Pain
We currently face an opioid crisis, where increased prescription of pain medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids. In addition, some of the medications prescribed for pain, such as gabapentin, have effects on cognition, resulting in significant impairments that can impact a client’s day-to-day functioning, such as issues with attention and memory. Because of this, at Nelmar Health Centers, we not only take a multi-disciplinary approach to understand and treat chronic pain, but we also specifically work towards reducing or eliminating the use of pain killers or other drugs that may be directly contributing to cognitive problems. This approach ensures a healthy brain and strong body and freedom from dependence on multiple drugs leading to debilitating side effects.Dr. Cohen has had extensive experience in this area while managing the psychology department in three chronic pain clinics. She helped many patients manage the severe side effects of these medications and monitored how their brains responded to the medication changes.
Our treatment plans for chronic pain include sessions with our holistic health practitioner, who will educate you on how diets filled with processed foods and exposure to environmental toxins can contribute to increased symptoms and make dietary and lifestyle changes recommendations. We may also recommend a massage with essential oils performed by our massage therapist, which will relax the pain points and stimulate the senses to achieve pain and stress reduction, and improve mood and sleep. A significant part of the treatment plan is neurofeedback, where we work directly on the brain using neuroplasticity to reorganize neural networks to facilitate healing. In addition, we continuously administer qEEG and cognitive testing to monitor how the pain medications are affecting each client’s brain. We regularly modify the neurofeedback protocol and the overall treatment plan based on this information. Every change in the treatment plan is made after a thorough review by each multidisciplinary team member and approved by the client.
Our licensed mental health counselors will support these interventions by working on your stress, anxiety, and depression — all of which can cause pain or be caused by it – through mindfulness techniques to complete the body and mind cycle and support your efforts toward achieving your goal: regaining your life. Finally, our chronic pain-informed meditation and yoga classes are a great way to enhance your treatment plan, maintain the gains you have achieved, and be a part of our small community where you can meet friends and find understanding and social support.
For clients that may need more rigorous treatment interventions, we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).