's Success with Pain Boot Camp featured in Pain Pathways - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on April 11, 2011

RIC’s Success with “Pain Boot Camp” Featured in Pain Pathways Magazine

A story on RIC’s “pain boot camp” was called “a must-read for those patients who have tried everything to ease their pain” by the editors at Pain Pathways. The quarterly magazine for acute, chronic and cancer pain management featured a profile on Dr. Steven Stanos, network director of RIC’s Center for Pain Management (CPM), and the successful approach of the intensive four-week program that “could be described as full-immersion pain management training.”

Headlined “The Doctor in Charge of Pain Boot Camp – Lifestyle Changes for Chronic Pain” in the winter 2010 issue, the article explains that Stanos “arrived at RIC for residency training in PMR and never looked back. He said, “I especially liked the biopsychosocial aspect [of my training]. I really identified with the team approach that permeated all of my rotations. In the chronic pain program, especially, many patients have failed with previous unimodal approaches, and few have had any assessment of psychological factors or behavioral interventions as part of their treatment,” he told the magazine. “When we see them, it’s a different approach. A rehabilitation model focuses on all three areas: biological psychological, and social.”

Pain Pathways outlines the rigors of boot camp: “During the four weeks, participants meet with an attending physician twice a week and with a psychologist two to three times a week. Physical and occupational therapy, vocational rehabilitation and relaxation training are other important elements. Participants work individually and in groups, allowing them to learn from and encourage each other,” the story says, noting that modified half-day programs also are available.

Stanos acknowledged that patients often come to boot camp in a deconditioned state, many of them unused to staying up for eight hours at a stretch. “For many, just getting through the first week is a huge accomplishment,” he told the magazine.

Much of the work is psychotherapy, Stanos said, from exploring a patient’s upbringing and life stressors to offering group communication and mindfulness training to providing formal cognitive behavioral techniques that focus on assertiveness and problem solving. Boot camp also includes sessions for families and couples led by a psychologist, Pain Pathways pointed out.”Our pain psychologist and relaxation therapist are passionate about what they do, and are critical in helping patients buy into the biopsychosocial model early in the program,” Stanos told the magazine.

In fact, the CPM “owes its success to its focus on functional restoration and its interdisciplinary approach,” the story said. Stanos explained that the center makes a distinction “between a ‘multidisciplinary’ approach and our more collaborative team-focused interdisciplinary approach. Here, all parts of our team are together under one roof,” he said.

The benefit is clear at the end of boot camp, when patients meet with their care teams at their individual discharge sessions, often accompanied by relatives, Stanos told Pain Pathways. “They really appreciate that we’ve listened to them, worked with them and made them more active participants in their care,” he said. ‘They are rewarded for their hard work. Family members many times come, and it’s very emotional. Such interaction is rare in medicine.”

To read the full story, contact Pain Pathways at www.painpathways.org/.

About the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is the nation’s leading provider of comprehensive physical medicine and rehabilitation care to patients from around the world. Founded in 1953, RIC has been designated the “No. 1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. RIC sets the standard of care in the post-acute market through its innovative applied research and discovery programs, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, bionic medicine, musculoskeletal medicine and technology transfer. The AbilityLab — RIC’s new, state-of-the-art research hospital, will open in March 2017. 

Journalists contact: mediarelations@ric.org, 312-238-6016.

All others contact: webmaster@ric.org.