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Behavioral Management for Chronic Pain

Managing chronic pain can sometimes feel like trying to put together a puzzle only to find that some of the pieces are missing. Fortunately, the field of pain management has come a long way in its understanding of this complex and often invisible condition. Health professionals today recognize that successful management requires addressing not just the pain itself, but also how a person reacts, copes and lives with the pain.

Behavioral management, as part of the treatment for chronic pain, can improve quality of life by teaching you skills to reduce your pain intensity and interference in everyday living, decrease physical and emotional distress and increase functioning.

Chronic conditions that can benefit from behavioral management include:

  • back pain
  • migraines
  • arthritic conditions
  • myofascial pain
  • complex regional pain syndrome
  • fibromyalgia

At the Center for Behavioral and Nutritional Health, the following services are provided by licensed psychologists with specialized training in behavioral medicine and the application of research-based psychological techniques to the management of chronic pain:

Individual behavioral therapy

A licensed psychologist works with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses lifestyle, behavioral, interpersonal and emotional factors that can increase pain levels and influence the management of your chronic pain. Treatment plans incorporate techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation training, mindfulness meditation and other research-based therapies to fit your needs, improve your quality of life and achieve personal goals.

Chronic Pain Management Program

In this group-based program, participants are taught skills to control and decrease pain while also managing problems caused by pain. Participants work with clinicians and other group members to learn techniques to increase activity and movement, decrease muscle tension, cope with emotional changes, improve relationships and improve sleep. Participants develop individual goals each week to increase self-management and personal achievement.

All services begin with an initial consultation in which the psychologist gathers general information and pain-specific history, assesses the impact of pain in multiple domains of life and works with the patient to identify personal obstacles and goals.

Cost and Coverage

Nearly all health insurance plans include coverage for mental health services. The initial assessment (billing or CPT code: 90791), follow-up therapy sessions (billing or CPT code: 90834), and group sessions (billing or CPT code: 90853) are commonly covered by insurance carriers, including Medicare. The degree of coverage varies among carriers. That's why we highly recommend that you contact your insurance carrier to determine whether these services are covered, and if so, how many sessions are covered in a calendar year. For patients with insurance, the individual is expected to be responsible for all co-pays and deductibles.