Integrative Treatment for Chronic Pain and Illness
By Southwest Healing & Wellness Center
Integrative health and medicine is a concept which is beginning to alter the landscape of medical care in the United States. There are several foundational components which make health and wellness integrative. First, integrative health and medicine places importance on the relationship between the practitioner and patient. Second, it focuses on the person as a whole. Third, it is informed by evidence to guide treatment. Fourth, it makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals, and professions to help an individual heal.
Many times when we consider wellness we only think of certain aspects of wellness, such as physical health. However, when we expand our definition of wellness to include all aspects of a person’s well-being (e.g. physical, mental, functional, and relational) then the concept of integrative health and medicine makes a lot of sense. Integration changes the focus from treating symptoms to healing and recovery.
When an individual suffers from a serious injury resulting in chronic pain there are many aspects of their well-being which may be effected. In many ways, chronic pain and illness create a domino effect. The pain may lead to difficulty in employment, which may lead to financial strain, which may lead to relationship challenges, which may lead to depression or hopelessness, and so forth. In reality, the domino effect is much more complex than this simple illustration. While treating the symptoms of the pain would be essential in this scenario, it would not address the compounding effects on the person as a whole. The rising opioid prescription epidemic is, in many ways, the result of symptom-only based treatment for pain. For many people who suffer from chronic pain, the line between the physical and emotional symptoms become blurred, which ultimately increases the risk for opiate dependency.
When dependency on prescription opiates occurs, the domino effect becomes much more evident and severe. Traditional treatment, such as an addiction treatment facility, is many times less effective for opiate use because the chronic pain is not able to be properly addressed within the facility. Likewise, traditional pain clinics may not be sufficient because they are not able to appropriately treat the behavioral, mental, and life functioning aspects which commonly go along with prescription opiate dependency. These factors illustrate the need for fully-integrated treatment.
Southwest Healing and Wellness Center was founded on the principles of integrative treatment and provides therapeutic services to address the patient’s overall wellness. This requires practitioners from several disciplines to work together in harmony within the same system. At Southwest Healing and Wellness Center the practitioners working on each individual case include pain specialists, internal medicine specialists, nutrition experts, fitness professionals, behavioral and mental health providers, and others to ensure that all aspects of the individual’s well-being are addressed. The various providers also meet together regularly to collaborate on behalf of the patient. This creates powerful synergy in treatment and ensures that each aspect of care is being properly addressed and executed to help the patient move toward healing and wellness.