According to the National Institutes of Health, pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. It is a leading cause of disability and a major contributor to health care costs. The diversity of pain conditions requires a diversity of research and treatment approaches.
One such approach is the evidence-based program, Living Well with Chronic Pain (LWCP). This program is a community-based intervention delivered once a week for six weeks and is intended for people who have a primary or secondary diagnosis of chronic pain. Research demonstrates that LWCP participants have less pain, improved mental health, more energy, and increased satisfaction with their lives compared to those who have not taken the program.
LWCP will not conflict with existing programs or treatment and is designed to enhance regular treatment. The program gives participants the skills to coordinate all the things needed to manage their health, as well as to help them keep active in their lives.
Subjects covered in LWCP workshops include:
- Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, isolation, and poor sleep;
- Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance;
- Appropriate use of medications;
- Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals;
- Pacing activity and rest; and
- How to evaluate new treatments.
It is the process in which the program is taught that makes it effective. Workshops are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.
Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are peers with chronic pain themselves. MNRAAA will host a LWCP Leader Training on May 22, 2018 in Redwood Falls. Individuals interested in becoming a LWCP Leader can register online at mnraaa.org/living-well-with-chronic-pain. Space is limited.
The LWCP was developed by Sandra LeFort, PhD, MN, RN in 1996 at McGill University in Montreal in conjunction with Dr. Kate Lorig and the staff of the Stanford Patient Education Research Center. It was derived from Stanford’s Arthritis Self-Management Program and the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.
Like the other Stanford self-management programs, LWCP has been rigorously evaluated in two randomized clinical trials. The program has also been delivered and evaluated across 10 pain clinics in Ontario, Canada. Evaluation of the program found it to be beneficial for participants in terms of coping skills, education, and overall quality of life. To date, the program has been delivered to hundreds of individuals with chronic pain. The first LWCP workshops in MNRAAA’s service area were co-hosted by MNRAAA and Catholic Charities in Jackson and New Ulm. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, it’s easy to find LWCP workshops in Minnesota through one website, YourJuniper.org.
“People who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their own health and healthcare have better outcomes and are less likely to develop new chronic conditions,” according to Sara Lindquist, MD, medical advisor to Juniper. “Juniper provides information that helps people to participate in their own care and to work more effectively with their healthcare provider.”