It Takes a Village to Manage Chronic Pain
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Chronic pain is a debilitating disorder characterized by musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and compromises in cognition. Although pharmacotherapy has had some success in treating chronic pain, this approach does not address the psychological effects that chronic pain patients (C.P.P.) have to endure in their lives. Furthermore, analgesics, primarily opioids, have been the standard of chronic pain management, with a resulting national crisis related to overuse, improper use, and illegal use of these substances. While counselling does not provide the same rapid relief as painkilling medication, it can help chronic pain clients manage both the physical and psychological effects of pain. A review of the theoretical and clinical literature of Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), yoga and mindfulness practice shows consistent and significant evidence for supporting and benefiting CPP. While ACT can enhance psychological conditions aiming to increase valued action in the presence of pain, yoga practiced with concurrent mindfulness based-meditation may reduce pain, catastrophizing and increase acceptance. The Capstone Project proposes a model to assist chronic pain management incorporating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), yoga and mindfulness meditation. It is comprised of ACT techniques, mindfulness and yoga practice in counselling sessions. The goal is to provide clients with tools for dealing with chronic pain as well as educate health practitioners, friends and families on the benefits of these strategies.