Black Swan Health’s multidisciplinary Persistent Pain Management Program aims to enable people living with chronic pain to live a functional and valued life. This is achieved by improving the individual’s ability to actively self-manage their day to day activities and rely less on passive interventions such as medication. Our biopsychosocial interdisciplinary approach aims to reduce fear of movement, relieve emotional distress, and improve self – efficacy. The main aims of the program include improved social connectivity and engagement in functional and valued activities.
When she joined the program, Jenny had lived with persistent pain in her shoulders, neck and jaw since 2008. She had severe range of movement limitations of her neck – “all movements hurt”. Prior to this she had been a physically active mum of three young sons. She was now unable to partake in simple daily activities such as shopping, gardening, cleaning her home or socialising with friends which she had enjoyed in the past. She could only comfortably sit in a camping chair as this provided adequate support for her neck. She missed being able to go out with her friends to listen to live bands and had given up believing she could ever do this again.
Jenny had tried unsuccessfully, for a definitive diagnosis for what she was experiencing. She had, had numerous investigations and passive interventions but, to no avail. Thousands of dollars were spent on unhelpful treatments. She felt that she was out of options and her daily experience was dealing with chronic pain and the resultant suffering.
Jenny attended the 6 Persistent Pain Program education sessions facilitated by our Allied Health team. Education empowers the participants by giving them an understanding of their pain and how a biopsychosocial approach to chronic pain is needed to reduce pain interference, pain intensity, pain catastrophising and to improve self -efficacy and mood. Tools and strategies introduced by our team of Allied Health Professionals and implemented by Jenny were most helpful and empowering. She started to make changes to her lifestyle. She altered her diet and improved her sleep hygiene. She was helped to overcome her unhelpful thoughts and beliefs which were barriers to her recovery. She participated in Black Swan Health’s Mindful Movement Program and learnt breathing, mindfulness and mindful movement practices which are evidence-based interventions for chronic pain management. She progressed to join our Strength to Strength circuit-based exercise program.
Jenny has ceased all pain medication and is now no longer living in constant pain. She said: “I can’t remember when I was totally pain-free – at least 10 years ago.”
Jenny is now able to move her neck freely and she is pain free. Most of all, she can go out for lunches with her friends and she has been out dancing to her favourite band without flare ups. She can complete her domestic chores and she has regained her functional abilities. She has resumed the quality of life she thought was gone forever, as she engages ever more in valued activities.
Following the program, Jenny states that she looks forward to the weekly Mindful Movement classes. The support Jenny received from the team were key to her success and commitment to maintaining her progress to-date. “From the reception staff to the program facilitators, they’ve all treated me with care, empathy and constant interest in my progress.”
Key Client Outcomes
The data below is based on the nationally recognised ePPOC (Electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration), an initiative of the Faculty of Pain Medicine.