Pain Rehabilitation Program

Helping you get your life back from pain

Chronic pain can be a serious burden for many, reducing your ability to function and in some cases causing major disability.

If you have chronic pain, our goal is to help you improve your quality of life and functioning with our 3-week intensive outpatient program.

At IU Health, we bring together experts across several specialties to address your chronic pain. Our 3-week outpatient program is offered at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

We take a whole-person approach to your chronic pain. That means during the program, you’ll have access to several treatments, including:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Medication optimization and consultation
  • Complementary therapies including yoga, massage, and spiritual counseling

You are an important member of your pain team. This program gives you an active role in your pain care. If you are participating in the program, you’ll be expected to attend each day of the program so that you can experience its full benefits.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is pain that continues past the time expected for an injury to heal or an illness to end, usually about three months. This program is for people who have chronic pain.

Chronic pain may affect a specific part of the body, as in chronic low back pain, headaches, or facial pain. It can also involve different regions of the body at once, such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis or peripheral neuropathies. There are some types of pain without any known cause.

Having chronic pain in one region of the body puts you at risk for developing chronic pain other places later.

Who could benefit from the Pain Rehabilitation Program?

Many people living with chronic pain develop difficulty functioning in daily life. This may include poor sleep, physical decline, emotional changes and difficulties at work or school. When this happens, pain is no longer a symptom but an illness itself.

One reason people come to our program is that finding effective treatment can be difficult and frustrating. Chronic pain is complex and typical forms of treatment, such as medications, injections or surgery may not provide complete relief.

This program may be right for you if you answer “Yes” to any of these questions:

  • Is my life focused on pain and what I am not able to do rather than what I am able to do in spite of the pain?
  • Are my doctors telling me there is nothing further they can do to relieve the pain?
  • Am I truly concerned about the long-term effects of taking pain medications?
  • Are my doctors telling me that I need to do more on my own to manage pain?
  • Is my family’s well-being affected because of my chronic pain?
  • Is my recovery from injury or illness taking much longer than my doctors or I expected?
  • Am I not able to commit to social events with family or friends because my pain may be higher that day?

Program Goals

At our program, we want to improve your functioning and increase your quality of life if you live with chronic pain. We do this by emphasizing holistic wellness.

Some of our goals include:

  • Increasing daily activity
  • Building physical strength, stamina and flexibility
  • Balancing medications with other approaches to treating pain
  • Learning stress relief through a variety of techniques
  • Returning to work or other important activities

Our Approach

We offer a variety of treatments and therapies to help each person achieve their individual goals. Our program includes:

Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy

Your physical therapy program will consist of 1-hour sessions for the duration of the 3-week program.

You will be evaluated by a physical therapist during your first visit. We will develop a program for your needs. Your sessions will be a blend of one-on-one and group, self-directed exercises.

Occupational therapy focuses on your ability to complete daily activities. Our goal is to teach techniques to help you gain back control over daily activities.

Psychological Treatment for Pain

Many people who face chronic pain also face depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. We use research-based treatments to help individuals with chronic pain. Our group education and therapy sessions are an essential component of treatment. Group therapy is focused on how thoughts and behaviors impact life with chronic pain.

Group therapy sessions topics include:

  • Positive pain coping
  • Communication
  • Cycle of chronic pain
  • Adapting to change
  • Hurt versus harm
  • Social impact of pain

Medication Optimization and Consultation

Medications have been an important part of the treatment plan for many people with chronic pain. While we recognize the significant role of medications in treating pain, we emphasize that medications are only one part of a complete plan for pain management.

Our nurse practitioner will meet with each person at least once per week. We will help you understand your medications as part of a greater plan to improve functioning.

During the program, our nurse practitioner will provide education in a group setting covering medications and medical interventions for pain. She will also meet individually with each patient weekly to work on a personalized plan of care.

Complementary Treatments

We also use complementary therapies to address the several ways chronic pain has negatively affected your wellbeing. These include:

  • Nutrition groups led by a registered dietician
  • Meditation groups with a certified yoga instructor
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Chaplaincy services

Aftercare Planning

Our goal is that every patient completes the program with skills and strategies to use in their home environment. We offer a group dedicated to aftercare planning every week to ensure that while learning, you are also preparing for the end of the program.

What to Expect with the IU Health Pain Rehabilitation Program

At IU Health, we bring together experts across several specialties to address your chronic pain. Our 3-week outpatient program is offered at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

We take a whole-person approach to your chronic pain. That means during the program, you’ll have access to several treatments, including:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Medication optimization and consultation
  • Complementary therapies including yoga, massage, and spiritual counseling

You are an important member of your pain team. This program gives you an active role in your pain care. If you are participating in the program, you’ll be expected to attend each day of the program so that you can experience its full benefits.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is pain that continues past the time expected for an injury to heal or an illness to end, usually about three months. This program is for people who have chronic pain.

Chronic pain may affect a specific part of the body, as in chronic low back pain, headaches, or facial pain. It can also involve different regions of the body at once, such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis or peripheral neuropathies. There are some types of pain without any known cause.

Having chronic pain in one region of the body puts you at risk for developing chronic pain other places later.

Who could benefit from the Pain Rehabilitation Program?

Many people living with chronic pain develop difficulty functioning in daily life. This may include poor sleep, physical decline, emotional changes and difficulties at work or school. When this happens, pain is no longer a symptom but an illness itself.

One reason people come to our program is that finding effective treatment can be difficult and frustrating. Chronic pain is complex and typical forms of treatment, such as medications, injections or surgery may not provide complete relief.

This program may be right for you if you answer “Yes” to any of these questions:

  • Is my life focused on pain and what I am not able to do rather than what I am able to do in spite of the pain?
  • Are my doctors telling me there is nothing further they can do to relieve the pain?
  • Am I truly concerned about the long-term effects of taking pain medications?
  • Are my doctors telling me that I need to do more on my own to manage pain?
  • Is my family’s well-being affected because of my chronic pain?
  • Is my recovery from injury or illness taking much longer than my doctors or I expected?
  • Am I not able to commit to social events with family or friends because my pain may be higher that day?

Program Goals

At our program, we want to improve your functioning and increase your quality of life if you live with chronic pain. We do this by emphasizing holistic wellness.

Some of our goals include:

  • Increasing daily activity
  • Building physical strength, stamina and flexibility
  • Balancing medications with other approaches to treating pain
  • Learning stress relief through a variety of techniques
  • Returning to work or other important activities

Our Approach

We offer a variety of treatments and therapies to help each person achieve their individual goals. Our program includes:

Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy

Your physical therapy program will consist of 1-hour sessions for the duration of the 3-week program.

You will be evaluated by a physical therapist during your first visit. We will develop a program for your needs. Your sessions will be a blend of one-on-one and group, self-directed exercises.

Occupational therapy focuses on your ability to complete daily activities. Our goal is to teach techniques to help you gain back control over daily activities.

Psychological Treatment for Pain

Many people who face chronic pain also face depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. We use research-based treatments to help individuals with chronic pain. Our group education and therapy sessions are an essential component of treatment. Group therapy is focused on how thoughts and behaviors impact life with chronic pain.

Group therapy sessions topics include:

  • Positive pain coping
  • Communication
  • Cycle of chronic pain
  • Adapting to change
  • Hurt versus harm
  • Social impact of pain

Medication Optimization and Consultation

Medications have been an important part of the treatment plan for many people with chronic pain. While we recognize the significant role of medications in treating pain, we emphasize that medications are only one part of a complete plan for pain management.

Our nurse practitioner will meet with each person at least once per week. We will help you understand your medications as part of a greater plan to improve functioning.

During the program, our nurse practitioner will provide education in a group setting covering medications and medical interventions for pain. She will also meet individually with each patient weekly to work on a personalized plan of care.

Complementary Treatments

We also use complementary therapies to address the several ways chronic pain has negatively affected your wellbeing. These include:

  • Nutrition groups led by a registered dietician
  • Meditation groups with a certified yoga instructor
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Chaplaincy services

Aftercare Planning

Our goal is that every patient completes the program with skills and strategies to use in their home environment. We offer a group dedicated to aftercare planning every week to ensure that while learning, you are also preparing for the end of the program.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pain Rehabilitation Program

The Pain Rehabilitation Program is for people with chronic pain. Participation is by referral only. If you are interested in the program, please talk to your primary care provider to see if it is right for you.

If you are part of the program, we ask that you do everything in your power to attend each day of the program and arrive on time, regardless of your pain level. If you are in too much pain to participate, it will be important for our staff to evaluate you on arrival and make any adjustments needed to your program.

After completing your intake visit to determine if you would be a candidate for the Pain Rehabilitation Program, we will have a staff member reach out to your insurance company. We will need to get authorization before your approval to the program.

Once we receive that authorization from your insurance, we will contact you regarding your start date. If you have questions about your insurance benefits or the status of your authorization, please contact the phone number on the back of your insurance card. If further assistance is needed, please speak with one of our financial representatives about your insurance.

Patient Stories for Pain Rehabilitation Program