Pain Psychology Services
Psychophysiology is a branch of physiology that deals with the relationship between a person’s mental and physiological processes. Psychophysiological treatment involves using the relationship between the mind and body to better control and improve the conditions and symptoms a patient may be experiencing.
We believe in fostering each individual's healing power to improve their well-being. Our goal is to integrate the best of conventional medicine with evidence-based complementary treatments so that we may approach healing with a method that considers the whole person in body, mind and spirit.
Psychophysiological treatments may include:
- Comprehensive biopsychosocial evaluations
- Presurgical evaluations
- Psychophysiological pain management including:
- Relaxation and mindfulness-based training techniques
- Mindfulness-based biofeedback (MBB) treatment
- Pain management psychotherapy
- Cognitive behavioral restructuring
- Integrative psychotherapy that is brief, solution-focused (Referral for long-term psychological care is given if necessary)
- Individual therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to accidents or injuries
- Pain management seminar
Individual and group treatment will provide a forum where you’ll develop skills that can help you cope with and manage your pain. Your therapist will help you navigate your treatment through understanding:
- How your body reacts physically to stress and how that affects pain and illness
- The purpose of stress, "good" vs. "bad" stress
- How to decrease physical muscular tension to improve pain management
- How to sleep better
- How to learn new relaxation techniques
- How to change your body habits to improve pain management
- How to get support from others in dealing with your pain
- How to make your thoughts work more effectively to manage and cope with pain
- Use complementary treatment to reduce pain medication
- How to increase physical activity and related functioning in various areas of life
We treat a wide variety of conditions, symptoms, concerns and needs. As a participant in treatment, you will learn how to deal with your pain. You’ll also learn how to decrease your pain using techniques that don’t involve medications or injections. These methods do not take the place of your medications, but work with them to give you better results. In many cases, people using these techniques can decrease their use of medication. If this is one of your goals, we’ll work with you and your doctor to achieve it in the safest, most effective way.
This varies for each individual and their special pain concern. Most people find that they can learn what they need in 8 to 10 sessions. Sometimes people participate in a combination of group and individual treatment. The good news is that your effort is essential in determining the success of your treatment. You have control over your progress by practicing the techniques and completing assignments between sessions.
What you can expect to achieve will depend on your effort and goals. Some people want to get more relief from their health problems than they have received with other treatments. Other people simply want to rely less on medications.
You’ll meet with the pain psychologist for an individualized assessment of your specific needs. Together, you will decide on a treatment plan that is right for you. Just ask your pain management specialist or family doctor to refer you.
Biofeedback for Spine and Pain Issues
How Does Biofeedback Work?
Most illnesses are associated with physiological changes. Scientists know that our bodies respond physically to stress. Furthermore, the body responds in a similar way whether that stress is physical, emotional or environmental. It can even react in a similar way whether that stress is life threatening or a temporary annoyance.In biofeedback training, patients are taught to change several physiological processes in a way that may improve their health. These changes were once thought to be beyond our voluntary control. Biofeedback has shown that people can learn to make these changes.
What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is actually a tool that will allow you to see yourself making those changes. Chances are you have used biofeedback if you’ve ever taken your temperature or stepped on a scale. Both of these devices give you information about your body’s condition so that you can make changes. The biofeedback instruments will monitor your body’s physiological activity of breathing, blood flow, heart rate, skin conductance and muscle tension. You receive immediate feedback while making changes. Thus, you will quickly learn what adjustments may be beneficial for your body in order to decrease pain and distress.
People benefit from biofeedback for a variety of physical and emotional disorders. Some types of conditions which can be helped with biofeedback include:
- Raynaud’s syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Sleep disorders
- Anxiety and panic
- Repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Myofascial pain
- Temporal Mandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
- Neck, shoulder and back pain
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Other types of chronic pain
This varies for each individual and their special pain concern. Most people find that they can learn what they need in 8-10 sessions. The good news is that your effort is essential in determining the success of your treatment. You have control over your progress by practicing the techniques and completing assignments between sessions. What you can expect to achieve will depend on your effort and goals. Some people want to get more relief from their health problems than they’ve had with other treatments. Others simply want to rely less on medications. Whatever your goal is, you will undergo an initial evaluation in order to help us design an individualized treatment program in consultation with our multidisciplinary team. The biofeedback program at the Shepherd Spine and Pain Institute is under the direction of a clinical psychologist who specializes in using dynamic biofeedback training geared toward the management of pain.