By Dr. Stephen Hull, Northern Light Mercy Pain Management
Are you living with severe pain or suffering due to ineffective approaches that haven’t worked? Don’t get frustrated or allow others to dismiss what you are feeling. You are not alone, and there is a way forward.
“It was all about finding the right medication to make me better. I didn’t feel like there was a focus on me as a person. I just ended up thinking I needed more and more pain medication.”
While these words are from a patient describing their experience prior to being referred to our practice, the state of mind is one that is all too familiar. Pain is a broad term, but it can be an overwhelming force in one’s life. It can lead to depression, a withdrawal from daily routines, and avoidance of social engagements.
Pain can be all-consuming and debilitating. Other times it can be occasional. While we can treat the symptoms and root cause of pain through various therapies, there is much more to it than medication alone can solve.
Northern Light Mercy Pain Management is one of the only full, multi-disciplinary pain management centers in New England. The goal of our practice is to help people get their lives back. We do this through a holistic, team-based approach that works to reduce symptoms, increase physical activity, and improve a patient’s overall physical and emotional health. And this can all be done while reducing or eliminating pain medications that can negatively impact quality of life in the long run.
It’s important to understand that not all pain can be erased or eventually goes away. Living with chronic pain requires us to think about pain differently and develop the skills necessary to live our fullest life.
The Living Life Well Pain Rehabilitation Program
What makes our practice’s approach unique in Maine is that we offer a truly comprehensive pain management and rehabilitation program. Chronic pain can be a biologic, psychologic, and social concern. To regain a functional life, all must be addressed, and there is no one size fits all solution. A significant component of our patients’ success involves our Living Life Well Pain Rehabilitation Program, which helps chronic pain sufferers live life “bigger” so that they can reestablish function and get back to doing the things in life that they enjoy.
One of the early steps we work on in the program helps people distinguish between hurt and harm. Many things we do may hurt, but not all will cause harm. While it’s a simple concept, it varies greatly depending on an individual’s situation. Once this core understanding is established, we work with our patients to develop skills that will allow them to live with a certain level of pain in service of those things they value, such as family, recreation, and life responsibilities. When patients complete the program, we not only see a reduction in pain, but 90 percent achieve an increased willingness to remain engaged in life and actively commit to pursuing the activities they enjoy or previously thought impossible. For the first time, pain becomes a smaller part of their lives.
The Living Life Well Pain Rehabilitation Program also includes a group-based environment with others who understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain. Patients who go through the program not only see an improvement in pain severity and functionality, they gain a community of other individuals who have coped with similar issues or overcome challenging barriers.
“Going through the program changed my way of thinking. My focus used to be on simply trying to survive. I now have a life that is fuller and requires less medication.”
These are the hopeful words recently voiced by a patient who has completed our Living Life Well Pain Rehabilitation Program and who regularly participates in our alumni group. This group connects on a regular basis to share successes, struggles, and observations to help themselves stay on track, connect, and continue to live life well.
Remember, you are not alone. While it’s possible that you may never be pain free, you can learn to manage the pain, move forward, and live a full and meaningful life.
Dr. Hull practices at Northern Light Mercy Pain Management. The practice’s expert team of board-certified physicians bring years of experience, proven excellence, and a passion for easing pain and restoring lives to every consultation, treatment, and procedure. They are dedicated to making patients as independent, healthy, and pain-free as possible while improving function.