Pain is complex. Pain is valuable. Pain protects us. It is often a guide to healing, and it teaches us to navigate our world. Unfortunately, pain can also get out of control and become harmful. It can become more complicated and persistent, interfering with life and wellbeing. There are multiple, complex dimensions to all forms of pain. These include body systems and functions, lifestyles, understanding and beliefs, and, although rare, physical structures.
The video below illustrates just how complex pain really is:
In the last 20 years, chronic pain has steadily risen to the forefront of life altering health concerns. Of the many diseases that affect a person’s whole being, persistent, chronic pain now exceeds heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. In America alone, 1 in 4 people suffer from some form of persistent/chronic pain. Persistent pain can be very challenging to treat. Traditional attempts to decrease pain have ranged from injections, medications, and surgery. However, these methods have historically offered little overall improvement in chronic pain by themselves. Though there are some very specific conditions which may benefit from these procedures, most show limited or no long-term relief for chronic pain.
Over the last ten years, national headlines feature reports documenting the destructive physical, mental, and emotional effects of opioid abuse. While it is true that opioids can be very useful with specific short-term pain up to 2 weeks, they are a poor choice for the treatment of chronic, persistent pain. Beyond the inherent, high risk of addiction and death common to long-term opioid use/abuse, some people also experience a worsening of their pain while using opioids, creating new complex pains that are even more challenging to treat.
Despite these sometimes overwhelming statistics regarding the challenges of persistent pain, scientific developments over the last 30 years regarding our understanding of the biology of pain has resulted in many highly effective new treatment options. Neuroscience, immunology, and stress chemistry now provide hope for people who have struggled with multiple failed treatments in the past.
At Generation Care, we have made a commitment to our patients and community to address pain ‘head-on’ and have begun a company wide effort to provide the most cutting edge approaches in pain treatment currently available. Treating pain early, rather than waiting for it to become persistent, is the most effective form of treatment. However, effective treatment is still available for complex/chronic pain.
Our Pain Treatment Division is using a pioneering approach that includes training all our clinicians in screening and recognition of the development of complex and persistent pain early on, followed by referral to advanced pain treatment specialists in our company for more intensive treatments.
The Pain Treatment Division was developed by Leonard Van Gelder, DPT, ATC, TPS, CSCS, who serves as the director of the division. Leonard was a member of the first cohort of 22 Certified Therapeutic Pain Specialists (TPS) in the world through the International Spine and Pain Institute (ISPI). The faculty of ISPI are some of the leading contributors to pain science literature. Currently we have 9 clinicians with advanced training in pain treatment in our company, covering Grand Haven, Muskegon, and Grand Rapids.
How can you treat pain without surgery, injections, or medicine?
Medication, injections, and surgery have important roles under specific conditions in the treatment of pain. Unfortunately, as pain becomes increasingly chronic, many of these treatments alone are not enough to treat the complexity of pain. The strongest, scientific evidence for effective pain treatment is based on intensive multidimensional approaches that address the numerous factors and systems involved in pain. In the event that medications, injections, or surgery are needed, we partner with your existing physician(s) and have our own network of specialized physicians if specific medical needs must be addressed as a part of your care.
What is different about this treatment approach to persistent, chronic pain?
- We specialize in pain. We are not here to simply help you cope with your pain. Instead, our mission is to help you lessen your pain and improve your life.
- Our treatment is centered on you. Pain is complex and incorporates both your body and life, so our approach is focused on your story.
- We perform a highly specialized pain evaluation and assessment based on current research in pain science.
- Knowledge is power! We strive to help you understand why you hurt. Scientific evidence shows that the better you understand the biological and technical aspects of your pain, the more you can do, the better you move, and the less pain you have!
- Our treatments include cutting edge brain/body based approaches to pain. This advanced neuroscience-based treatment is customized to you.
- Our treatments are hands-on. By incorporating all senses, including eyes, ears, and overall body awareness, we are able to create an individualized treatment plan to help you move better, feel better, and live a better life with less pain.
- We partner closely with skilled physicians, psychologists/counselors, and other health care providers as appropriate to your needs.
- Treatment is always one-on-one! You will never be a part of a “group therapy.”
- You are in control! We will provide individualized options; you determine the amount of care and assistance needed. You will never be discharged and we’re available as much, or as little, as you need to help you treat your pain and improve your life.
How do I get treatment for my pain?
It’s simple! You can call or email us using our Contact link. A physician referral is not required, but is always welcome. See our ‘Refer yourself for therapy’ section for more information. We continue to accept and welcome referrals directly from physicians and always work closely with your existing healthcare team.