Chronic Pain Program
Chronic pain is a significant healthcare problem affecting at least 75 million Americans each year. While acute pain has the positive effect of alerting the body to acute or potential organ damage, chronic pain can be a debilitating condition for the individual, affecting almost every aspect of daily living, from sleep to self esteem. Non Malignant chronic pain is a common occurrence in today's society. A small subset of this group is the chemically addicted, chronic pain patient who represents anywhere between 3% to 18% of the chronic pain population. These patients tend to have a genetic predisposition to rapid tolerance to narcotic analgesics and find themselves having to take ever increasing doses of medication to achieve any therapeutic effect.
Over time, very large doses of medications are necessary to achieve any pain management at all. The phenomenon of tolerance and withdrawal creates a vicious cycle that removes personal options and creates a sense of powerlessness. No one seems to understand the situation you are in, and feelings of depression and despair are all too frequent. Finding help can be difficult. Most drug treatment centers are not equipped to effectively deal with chronic pain issues and pain clinics tend to have little knowledge about addiction recovery. Hemet Valley Recovery Center Chronic Pain and Addiction Treatment program is designed to fill this treatment gap. It is appropriate for those individuals who have relied on narcotic analgesics as their primary strategy in the treatment of chronic pain and have experienced side effects or other untoward consequences that may warrant a change. It is also appropriate for those seeking a prescription drug addiction treatment for older adults. For many, abnormally high tolerance interferes with therapeutic relief from pain, and for others the side effects of sedation and depression interferes with daily functioning. If you and your treating physician agree that trying an alternative to narcotic analgesics is appropriate, then the Hemet Valley Recovery Center is a good place to start.
Pain medication addiction treatment begins with medically managed detoxification designed to effectively treat withdrawal symptoms and protect from breakthrough pain. Traditional chemical dependency treatment is then supplemented by additional issue focused groups and techniques designed to create an alternative pain management treatment strategy to replace the use of narcotic analgesics. Alternative pain management methods are introduced while in chemical dependency treatment under the direction of the medical director.
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Alternative Pain Management Methods
Group therapy is provided with the understanding that psychological factors can aggravate or mitigate the experience of pain. Pain signals from the body are integrated with psychological information. The body releases natural painkillers called endorphins that can reduce the transmission of pain signals. Theory also holds that unprocessed emotional material; anxiety, fear and negative emotional states can increase or intensify the experience of pain. Whereas, a positive emotional state and a sense of control gained in part through improved coping can decrease the perception of pain.
Group psychotherapy allows the patient to address personal issues in an honest and supportive environment. The group process enhances therapeutic change through catharsis, mobilizing internal resources, recognizing environmental influences, identifying practical strategies and examining personal choices. The patients are aided by realizing they are not alone, that their problems are not unique and through helping and being helped by patients in different stages of managing their pain and in different stages of their recovery. The desired growth and change that occurs in the milieu is improved through work done within the fundamental social unit of the group.
The individual patient can make the most of the treatments provided by truly choosing to "enter therapy." This is achieved through being honest, open and genuine with themselves and others as they review their personal history, life and the lives of their fellows. Living with the truth, acknowledging painful feelings, as well as making room for beautiful, profound life-changing experiences is the real work of treatment. It is about listening more than talking, about temporarily suspending judgment, accepting others, their experiences, their input and being flexible in your beliefs.
Differing belief systems affect the meaning we give to chronic pain and addiction. These form direct links to body, mind and spirit that influence our ability to heal. Chronic pain and addiction may be observed from numerous personal viewpoints: as a challenge, as an adversary, as a penalty, as a defect, as a strategy, or as a value. By committed effort, faith and trust, throughout the recovery process and beyond, insight into the value of the dis-ease can bring about life changing transformations as a result of an expansion in awareness that the isolated individual is, in fact participating in a universe of divine intention and order.
Holistic Therapy Groups
Through a bio-psycho-spiritual model, holistic therapy groups are based on the premise that stress and suffering are directly related to our perception of them, or applied meaning given to them. Thoughts that create stress are often distorted, and can effect beliefs, emotions, behaviors and physiology. By conscious awareness of negative thought patterns, specifically those that trigger and perpetuate distress, we can change emotional states which subsequently affect our physiology. A positive connection to a “power greater than ourselves” gives us the means by which we can address our powerlessness over this self-destructive process.
Through the conscious formation of an image, the use of the imagination is initiated with the intention of activating biological, psychological, and spiritual healing. This process generally involves one, several, or all of the senses, serving as a bridge for connecting body, mind and spirit. Guided imagery can provide access to suppressed information in the subconscious mind, thus serving as a powerful conduit to recognizing and releasing destructive thought patterns, gaining valuable insights, and developing a deeper sense of peace, harmony, balance and understanding.
Heart-Mind Coherence (HeartMath™)
By a simple process similar to biofeedback, heart-mind coherence is measured as the heart speeds up and slows down in different patterns. Patients are given the opportunity to visually observe heart function in response to contrasting emotional states and learn how to establish a state of heart-mind “entrainment”.
The ancient art of meditation by focusing one's attention on a single thought, image, or sound has been found to increase Serotonin levels in the brain, thus creating positive effects on health and well-being. By directing the attention away from worries about the future or preoccupation with the past, meditation not only reduces stress and reconnects us with our divine nature, it also increases oxygenation of the blood, decreases heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
Conscious awareness of the breath, or "mindfulness breathing," stimulates and regulates the vital life force that circulates throughout the body. By letting go of outside distractions and focusing on the breath, the universal life force or “prana” is allowed to flow more freely.
Music, Movement, and Poetry
Various forms of artistic endeavor are the entrance to the healing spirit within. Poetry contains deep truths, often in a few well-chosen words. Music, the "universal language," expresses feelings that are beyond words. Dance moves people, literally and figuratively, in space and time. Care of the body-mind-spirit requires freedom of expression to expand healing possibilities unique to each individual. Mindful, centered attention focused on a chosen art form has been found to effect changes in behavior, emotions, physiology, stress, and pain. Art forms can serve as a vehicle for reaching non-ordinary states of consciousness. By shifting perception from the left brain linear mind to the right brain creative/intuitive mind, the ability to connect with one's Higher Power is greatly enhanced.
It had been said that spirituality is to recovery as water is to the ocean. Research has shown that treatment and recovery from addiction is paralleled by spiritual growth. At HVRC we believe that finding spirituality, or a strength greater than yourself, is vital to overcoming the pain and suffering of alcohol and drug addiction. The use of spiritual concepts in the treatment of addiction is the clearest demonstration of the value of spirituality, and as we have repeatedly observed, the central curative factor in recovery. For some, the idea that spirituality could be an important aspect in the treatment process is something they may never have considered. Through the process of learning how to become open and receptive, patients experience a new opportunity to discover and incorporate spiritual principles into their lives. Our therapists and counselors encourage patients to put away destructive beliefs from the past, and become willing to open up and accept the love and support of a “Higher Power” who accepts you just the way you are - the way you were meant (created) to be. Through this process, a silent metamorphosis begins to happen, and life becomes less burdensome and difficult; more joyous and fulfilling.
Many people understand Yoga from a standpoint of its benefits only to the body. From this point of view, yoga postures are an excellent system for achieving longevity and radiant health. Yoga postures promote the free flow of energy throughout the nervous system and assist in the elimination of toxins and poisons from the joints. They also exert a beneficial pressure on various glands and internal organs, flushing and stimulating them. Even a small amount of practice can produce amazing improvements in one’s general health.
However, more is involved in the postures than just the promotion of physical health. Through Yoga, one can improve their mental outlook and clarity, achieve a more harmonious emotional life, and develop a greater spiritual understanding of themselves. As quoted by Erich Schiffmann from his book Moving Into Stillness, “Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are. The practice of yoga is the practice of meditation--or inner listening—in the poses and meditations, as well as all day long. It’s a matter of listening inwardly for guidance all the time, and then daring enough and trusting enough to do as you are prompted to do…”
Acupuncture is used extensively at Hemet Valley Recovery Center for acute and chronic pain, and is also effective in treating symptoms associated with alcohol and chemical withdrawal, anxiety and depression. Patients describe a feeling of serenity and calm after receiving acupuncture treatments, which is due in part to the release of neurochemicals in the brain such as serotonin. Our patients also learn special breathing and relaxation techniques, and about the energy centers in the spine called ‘chakras”, and the part they play in the restoration of body, mind and spirit. One of the most frequent questions we are asked is “Does it hurt?” and the answer is a resounding “NO!” The needles used are very thin, in fact you could fit about 20 of them inside a regular hypodermic needle. Another common question is “Is it safe?” And the answer is “Yes.” All of our acupuncturists have been through rigorous training programs for a minimum of four years at the postgraduate level and are licensed and certified by the State of California Acupuncture Board.
Exercise, Physical Therapy, Massage
Low impact exercise groups are provided on site as well as scheduled off site access to a full service gym and pool when approved by the medical director. If necessary, the services of registered Physical Therapists are available when requested by the treating physician. Therapeutic Massage is available by appointment. Fees for massage must be paid separately at time of service.
The Chronic Pain and Addiction Treatment Program is a 30 day inpatient program covered by most insurance plans.
The Admissions and Assessment Department is happy to assist you 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Evaluations are free of charge and are available to anyone seeking help.