The Long Mile: Managing Chronic Pain

Dr. Teresa Clarke

Dr. Teresa Clarke is a physician at the Complex Chronic Diseases Program at BC Women’s Hospital and the Greenleaf Medical Clinic. She teaches online workshops on acupressure for chronic illnesses and integrative approaches to optimize immune health.

Dr. Teresa Clarke has developed a 10-week online chronic pain group series. Neuroscience studies have demonstrated that chronic pain changes the brain and alters brain circuitry, creating multiple pathways that involve areas such as the limbic system and the brain stem. This program takes a patient-centred approach to influence brain networks and rehabilitate chronic pain circuitry. The program includes educational, experiential, and interactive components to achieve this goal. Who would benefit? Chronic pain patients who are looking for improvement in symptom severity, physical and mental well-being, and quality of life.

Registration is for all ten sessions; please register when you are ready to commit to attending all sessions.

Session 1

By participating you will learn about:

  • Introduction to highlights of the program
  • Understanding the different models of health
  • Overview of integrative approaches to support the health journey
  • Evidence-based integrative approaches for chronic pain & the influence on the brain’s pain circuitry
  • Mind-body approaches for stress & chronic pain

Session 2

By participating you will learn about:

  • Overview of Canada Food Guide
  • Benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet for chronic pain
  • Highlights of an anti-inflammatory healthy diet
  • Understanding macronutrients & micronutrients & factors that deplete nutrients
  • Foods to eat more, eat less or avoid
  • Importance of social factors & food intake

Session 3

By participating you will learn about:

  • Understanding the stages of change to improve lifestyle habits
  • Exercise as a treatment for chronic pain
  • Importance of pacing, moving & stretching
  • Tips for pacing & resting
  • Setting & reaching goals
  • Understanding the health benefits of sleep
  • Tips for a good sleep

Session 4

By participating you will learn about:

  • Understand the benefits & limits of evidence-based medical treatments
  • Understand the role of medical cannabis in chronic pain
  • Learn how to choose & integrate evidence-based alternative therapies into a foundation of self-care
  • Learn the benefits of some evidence-based integrative approaches & supplements for pain

Session 5

By participating you will learn about:

  • The sensory-motor system & pain-spasm cycle
  • Types of pain
  • The autonomic nervous system
  • Tips for pacing & resting
  • The Default Mode Network & chronic pain
  • Neuroplasticity & its potential to promote recovery

Session 6

By participating you will learn about:

  • Understanding pain: types of pain & gate control theory
  • Learn how fibromyalgia is diagnosed
  • Learn strategies for healthy pain management
  • Master the art of pacing
  • Understand the factors that influence pain

Session 7

By participating you will learn about:

  • Understanding effects of stress on muscle tension, physiological functions & resilience
  • Effects of chronic illness on resilience
  • Identifying your stressors
  • Stress reduction strategies
  • Benefits of mind-body practices for chronic pain

Session 8

By participating you will learn about:

  • Understanding how cognitions & emotions affect chronic pain
  • Health benefits of positive thought habits
  • Choosing attitudes & beliefs that support health
  • Influencing the brain’s pain pathways & the autonomic nervous system

Session 9

By participating you will learn about:

  • Understanding how meaning & purpose contributes to pain reduction & wellbeing
  • Health benefits of happiness, fulfillment, kindness & compassion
  • Discovering our passion
  • Learning from life experiences

Session 10

By participating you will learn about:

  • Understanding the influence of spirituality on chronic pain
  • Promoting homeostasis of the autonomic nervous system
  • The evidence for uplifting experiences on health & chronic pain
  • How to improve our uplifting experiences
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