How We Can Help
Chronic Pain & Mindfulness
Chronic pain can have a profound effect on all aspects of one’s life, from relationships with friends and family, how one interacts with work colleagues, to one’s mood and self-esteem. Fortunately, many of the people we see in our clinic require short to medium-term treatment with great results. However, there are others with long-term musculoskeletal pain for whom manual therapy alone can give a temporary relief but not a complete resolution.
So what is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Chronic pain persists - often for months or even longer.
It may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. However, there may also be no clear cause. Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite and mood changes often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair.
Pain is a very personal and subjective experience. There is no test that can measure and locate pain with precision. So, health professionals rely on the patient’s own description of the type, timing and location of pain. Defining pain as sharp or dull, constant or on-and-off, or burning or aching may give the best clues to the cause of the pain.
These descriptions are part of what is called the pain history, taken during the start of the evaluation of a patient with pain. Since chronic pain may occur in a variety of locations in the body and for many different reasons, patients and their health professionals need to work together to identify the causes and symptoms of that pain and how it can be relieved.
The best treatment plans are tailored to the person, with input from the best healthcare professionals. It is also important that the person with pain and his or her loved ones must be actively involved in the treatment.
Self-management of chronic pain holds great promise as a treatment approach.
In conjunction with The Department of Health, The British School of Osteopathy has formulated a new approach to chronic pain called OsteoMAP, which combines Osteopathy with Mindfulness and Acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT).
Who can benefit and what are the aims?
It is suitable for patients with persistent musculoskeletal pain, as well as patients with degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and long-term injuries caused by trauma and other conditions, such as anxiety. It aims to help patients who are ready and willing to participate more actively in their own treatment, to explore new possibilities for living a more fulfilling life, and to find their own pathway to doing more of the things that really matter to them, despite ongoing symptoms, developing more fulfilling and flexible ways of living with pain.
The aim is to help patients become aware of bodily sensations, the way they react to sensations and experiment with alternative responses. Professor Mark Williams of The Oxford Mindfulness Centre says: “It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour.” “An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience.”
OsteoMAP at The Courtyard Clinic
OsteoMAP is a course of individually tailored six one-hour sessions over a period of 6 weeks. Each session includes a mixture of osteopathic treatment and mindfulness based exercises to help people manage pain more effectively.
Are there any side-effects?
The osteopathic techniques used are non-invasive and adapted to each individual. However, talking about pain and its impact can be upsetting and make the person more aware of pain, and one can feel more anxious or depressed at the start. This is often an inevitable but valuable part of the process, as the new awareness provides a realistic place to start exploring how to create a more active and fulfilling life, even if pain persists.
To enquire about the programme, please contact our clinic on 01621 842 750.