Comprehensive Pain at UVM Medical Center: A Different Approach
The Comprehensive Pain Program (CPP) is designed to provide participants with a healing environment in which a variety of integrative therapies will be offered. Participants who seek care at CPP have chronic pain lasting three months or longer which affects – or has the potential to affect – one's mental health, ability to work, family relationships or social relationships. Participants will be referred from Primary Care faculty practices affiliated with the University of Vermont Health Network.
The mission of the Comprehensive Pain Program brings modern medicine and evidence-based complementary and alternative therapies together to encourage participants to optimize their health. We are informed by the latest science in Integrative Healthcare and offer an array of therapies that address the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. Non-judgment, honesty, and authenticity guide us as we empower our participants to discover agency, self-efficacy, and well-being.
In addition to the variety of integrative therapies described below, participants will join one or both of two group offerings: COMPASS Living and PATH.
- PATH (Partners Aligned in Transformative Healing) is an Integrative Medical Group Visit facilitated by medical providers and a variety of integrative practitioners. This group highlights a variety of pathways you can use to realize your personal goals. PATH will provide experiences with various members of our CPP team who will introduce you to the value of integrative therapies. During PATH sessions, you will also have regular access to a medical provider who can answer individual questions.
- COMPASS Living (Continuing On My Path And Strengthening my Story) emphasizes that what you value most will provide your primary source of guidance. Facilitated by a psychologist, the primary goal is to help you gain clarity about how to live your life based on your top priorities, as opposed to what your pain dictates. Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a foundation, COMPASS Living is designed to help you discover how to live a more fulfilling life.
Integrative Therapies Offered
- Acupuncture - An ancient Chinese treatment that stimulates the body to naturally heal and improve function. Thin, sterile needles are used to regulate energy flow, improving function and reducing pain.
- Massage Therapy - A practice of muscle and joint manipulation to enhance the body's natural healing abilities to relieve stress and pain. The treatment may also encourage a deeper awareness of one's own body.
- Movement Classes - Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Feldenkrais use gentle movement, breathing, mindful awareness and meditation for a mind-body approach to health and wellness.
- Mindfulness - An effective intervention that focuses on connecting with the present moment to help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and the limitations that can accompany chronic pain.
- Nutrition - Individual visits and hands-on cooking classes will help you learn how what you eat can influence chronic pain and increase your confidence in the kitchen.
- Occupational Therapy - Therapy that encourages rehabilitation through the performance of activities required in daily life.
- Physical Therapy - This type of physical therapy is designed to decrease your suffering and fear of movement one-on-one or in a group. It includes education and movement to help you improve your life.
- Reiki - An energy modality using light or no touch. This technique promotes relaxation which helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
- To understand pain as a universal life experience, and to understand chronic pain as a particular form of suffering which may also hold an opportunity for growth, increased wisdom, and wellness;
- To engage those experiencing chronic pain and their family/support system using a “holistic lens that includes the body, mind, and spirit ;
- To support participants in achieving optimal comfort and function in the service of fulfilling their own self-articulated goals;
- To encourage participants to develop agency and self-efficacy in managing their condition through compassion and the sharing of knowledge;
- To work with participants in discerning the safest and most effective therapies available to them;
- To avoid and mitigate the adverse impacts of over-reliance on the prescription of opiate medications on patients - and by extension the larger community;
- To understand that a socially just society is fundamental to both public and individual health and wellbeing;
- To identify and address the impact of barriers to care among our participants;
- To measure the effectiveness of our work and to refine our approach innovatively in the service of providing the best outcomes for participants;
- To further the care of participants by maintaining a healthy work environment for staff, allowing them to model balance and self-care in their work in the Program.
For Medical Professionals
Referrals to CPP will come from primary care faculty practices within the UVM Health Network. Criteria for acceptance into the program include the following:
- Age 18 or over
- Chronic pain lasting three months or longer which affects – or has the potential to affect – one's mental health, ability to work, family relationships, social relationships, or ability to work
- Adequate concentration and memory function to learn and apply new information
- No pending medical workup for a pain-related condition; not seeking a medical cure for pain
- Psychiatric stability
- Not presently in need of alcohol or substance abuse treatment
- Willingness to taper opioid medications and other controlled substances
- Willingness to participate actively in groups and therapies as prescribed by the CPP team
- Participant willingness to sign informed consent for care
- Participant willingness to sign consent for CPP to share relevant information with others involved in the individual's care
Exclusionary criteria include:
- Participant not motivated to participate in the program
- Participant unwilling to taper or discontinue use of opiate and other targeted medications (including benzodiazepines)
- Disruptive behavior likely to result in significant distress or danger to other participants
- Acute physical condition or illness preventing active participation in the program
Support & Resources
- Insight Timer, a free meditation app.
- UVM Integrative Health, educational opportunities for students and providers.
- UVM Integrative Practitioner Network, a database to help you find vetted integrative practitioners in your area
- Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health
- Information on Nonpharmacologic Strategies for Pain
- Ask a Health Librarian
- Frymoyer Community Resource Center