An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville

Living Healthy with Chronic Pain Management

What Is It?

The Living Healthy with Chronic Pain Self-Management Program is a workshop given two and a half hours, once a week, for six weeks, in community settings such as senior centers, churches, libraries and hospitals. People with different chronic pain health problems attend together and the workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are peers with chronic pain themselves. Classes are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.

Who should attend Living Health with Chronic Pain Self Management Education Programs?

The Living Healthy with Chronic Pain Self Management Program was developed for people who have a primary or secondary diagnosis of chronic pain. Pain is defined as being chronic or long term when it lasts for longer than 3 to 6 months, or beyond the normal healing time of an injury.

Examples of chronic pain conditions are:

  • Chronic musculo-skeletal pain (such as neck, shoulder, back pain, etc.)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Chronic regional pain syndromes
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Post-surgical pain that lasts beyond 6 months
  • Neuropathic pain (often caused by trauma)
  • Neuralgias (such as post-herpetic pain, and trigeminal neuralgia)
  • Post stroke or central pain

The Chronic Pain Self Management Programs may also benefit those who have conditions such as persistent headache, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, or those who experience severe muscular pain due to conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are peers with chronic pain themselves.

People with different chronic health problems attend this program together; many people have more than one chronic condition. The Chronic Pain Self-Management Program will not conflict with existing programs or treatment as it is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education.

What are the components of Living Health with Chronic Pain Self Management Education Programs?

Small-group, highly interactive workshops last for six weeks, meeting once a week for 2 ½ hours, and are facilitated by a pair of leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with chronic pain themselves.

Subjects covered include:

  1. Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, isolation, and poor sleep
  2. Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
  3. Appropriate use of medications
  4. Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
  5. Nutrition
  6. Pacing activity and rest
  7. How to evaluate new treatments
Register for this Workshop