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Whole Health for Veterans with Chronic Pain

  • Putting together the Pain Puzzle Pieces: The Big Picture of Chronic Pain Management

    23 OCT 2021 · Dr. Michael Hollifield and Dr. Ben Kligler discuss how to put all of this information together into a pain management approach that improves health and well-being. This includes topics such as how to talk with your provider, combining clinical care with acupuncture, chiropractic care, physical therapy, medications, and other approaches with self- care, having a team, developing a plan for flare-ups, and resilience and self -efficacy. We also consider how our community and society impacts Whole Health and chronic pain as well as the future of Whole Health and pain care in the VA. Social and Structural Determinants of Health are discussed as important underlying factors that contribute to health.
    42m 47s
  • Power of the Mind: Thinking Your Way to Healing

    13 OCT 2021 · In this episode, Dr. Katherine Bailey and Dr. Kaye Morgan explore the role of thought processes in pain management. People with chronic pain can have their thoughts hijacked by pain, and once pain takes your focus it is hard to think about anything other than the pain. We discuss how thoughts create emotions and physical sensations in the body, including how our fear of or anticipation of pain increases pain in the body. The good news is that if we can worry ourselves sick, we can imagine ourselves well. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other mind-body approaches are explored as solid evidence-based tools for chronic pain and suffering.
    39m 17s
  • Spirit and Soul

    29 SEP 2021 · Growing and Connecting- Dr. Brown Johnson and Chaplain Cleaver join us in the podcast to discuss how spirit and soul can be an important part of healing from chronic pain. We discuss how this can be part of the clinical visit or even support providers in their work. We discuss how moral injury can be a factor in chronic pain and suffering and how this can be addressed and discussed. Often injuries in war are associated with seeing and doing things that go against our beliefs or moral code. It can be hard to release the pain without addressing shame and guilt and forgiveness. These are practices that can be cultivated and worked on with mental health providers, chaplains, and other spiritual advisors.
    33m 50s
  • You are Not Alone: Strengthening Supporting Relationships when dealing with Chronic Pain

    15 SEP 2021 · Dr. Steve Hunt discusses how relationships can be challenging when someone has chronic pain. Chronic pain often leads to isolation and the feeling that no one can understand, while family members can be confused or alienated. Family members may do too much, too little, or provide the support and nourishment Veterans need to heal and regain a higher level of functioning. In this podcast. Dr. Hunt discusses how Veterans with chronic pain and their friends and family members can support each other and improve these important relationships.
    36m 49s
  • Relax, Rest, Recharge: The Connection Between Sleep and Chronic Pain

    1 SEP 2021 · Dr. Aaron Martin discusses the connection between sleep and pain and how they influence each other: people with chronic pain have poor sleep due to pain, while poor sleep leads to chronic pain. Chronic pain is due to an overactive nervous system while sleep requires the nervous system to be in a relaxed state. There are many ways to approach sleep and rest besides taking medications and, in fact, many sleep medications do not provide good quality deep sleep. Instead, we can re-train the body and brain to relax and allow rest and sleep thus improving pain and suffering.
    42m 23s
  • What’s on the Menu? Eat, Drink and Manage Pain

    18 AUG 2021 · Dr. Nancy Cotter joins the podcast to demonstrate how what you eat and drink impacts the amount of pain you experience. During this episode we learn that food is information for your cells, and anything we consume that is not a healthy whole food is treated as a toxin. Healthy foods are broken down into nutrients the body can use for fuel and cell repair, while unhealthy foods activate the body’s emergency response system and produce biochemical reactions designed to destroy the invader that you ingested. This process damages tissue and creates an overload of inflammatory chemicals that increase pain. Dr. Cotter explains the importance of eating the rainbow, eating mindfully and moderately, and considering food an act of self- love and nourishment. While some people have limited access to fresh healthy foods or fresh water, what really matters when making food choices is doing the best you can. It starts with one small change. Each of us can examine our diet and what is possible for us.
    36m 18s
  • Focus on What You CAN Do: Meaningful Engagement in Activities while Managing Chronic Pain

    4 AUG 2021 · Dr. Dave Kopacz discusses chronic pain as a call to growth and change, a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual journey to become someone new. He explores re-engaging in meaningful activities, focusing on what you can do, and allowing grief over loss of previous activities. Because chronic pain is processed through the brain, developing new interests, hobbies, taking classes, or any focus on developing oneself further creates new brain pathways that decrease focus on pain and shift focus to new possibilities, passion, and hope. Chronic pain itself can be a call to focus on our personal development, and we explore the concept of pain as a hero’s journey.
    45m 45s
  • Small Changes, Big Impact: Improving your Surroundings to help Manage Pain

    21 JUL 2021 · Dr. Aaron Waters discusses the healing power of nature, green space, and environment, including aromas. We can all feel the impact of our surroundings, as being in nature and surrounded by beauty affects our whole selves. Dr. Waters discusses creating living and workspaces that feel peaceful with color, sound, light, art, plants, scents, and other environmental conditions that influence our mood, our stress levels, and therefore our pain levels. We don’t always have control over our environment, but often we can make small changes to improve our surroundings.
    38m 37s
  • Just Move! Increase Function and Decrease Pain

    7 JUL 2021 · Kathryn Schopmeyer and Dr. Andrea Buccino discuss the importance of movement and activity in managing chronic pain. Pain often leads people to stop moving, which weakens the body and makes the pain worse. Our bodies have a natural ability to heal given the proper conditions and moving in a healthy way improves our overall health and well-being. Dr. Schopmeyer and Dr. Buccino explain that instead of focusing on our injuries and limitations, we can focus on our ability and get the body moving again. Even if we have permanent different abilities than we used to, we can move the parts that are accessible to us and improve our functioning and quality of life.
    38m 54s
  • Mindfulness Helps Manage Chronic Pain

    23 JUN 2021 · Dr. Greg Serpa discusses the importance of mindfulness as the basis of a Whole Health approach to chronic pain and explains how mindful awareness can impact pain and suffering. We learn that mindful awareness is the foundation to the Circle of Health and discuss the difference between pain and suffering. While the conventional approach to care treats discomfort as an enemy to be extinguished, mindful awareness teaches us that being with the pain and noticing our thoughts and reactions without resisting the discomfort can decrease suffering and even decrease pain over time. In this podcast Dr. Serpa shares his experience and research with mindfulness and chronic pain.
    41m 41s

Dr. Carol Bowman has worked with patients with chronic pain for over 10 years, and with Veterans for the past 6 years. In addition to Primary Care Internal Medicine training,...

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Dr. Carol Bowman has worked with patients with chronic pain for over 10 years, and with Veterans for the past 6 years. In addition to Primary Care Internal Medicine training, Dr. Bowman studied and practiced holistic medicine for over 25 years and is certified in Integrative Pain Management. She learned that people can re-gain their lives and purpose through a holistic approach to medicine, and this created a passion to teach others a holistic approach to pain.
This podcast series is based on the VA Whole Health model of care and the Circle of Health and was developed by the VA to provide education and tools for those suffering with chronic pain. If you have a pain program at your facility, this podcast can be used alongside your pain treatment to provide additional information and strategies for reaching your goals. If you do not have a pain program available to you, this series will give you skills and knowledge around self-care and complementary and integrative treatments that you can incorporate into your life to reduce the impact of chronic pain and improve your health and well-being.
The podcasts are designed around the Circle of Health and how each area relates to chronic pain. We hope they inform and inspire you to make positive changes for yourself.
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Author Veterans Health Administration
Categories Health & Fitness
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