Photo of Gwenn Herman, courtesy of Bethesda Magazine.

In May 2016, Pain Connection — a well-known 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides  support groups, support group trainings, and resources to help individuals with chronic illness and pain as well as their families — joined forces with U.S. Pain Foundation.

Pain Connection offers in-person support groups in four states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, and Maryland. But individuals with pain from anywhere in the country–or those who have difficulty traveling–can also get support via the “Pain Connection Live” conference call program, which offers two, hour-long support calls a month.

Each call has a different topic related to coping with chronic pain and developing new skills. Participants have the option to chime in or listen silently. Breathing techniques and guided imagery are taught in the last 15 minutes of the call. All support groups are free and open to anyone. To learn more about the support group offerings and how to participate, click here.

The support group programming is overseen by Gwenn Herman, founder and executive director of Pain Connection, who created the organization 17 years ago following a motor vehicle accident that left her living with chronic, unrelenting pain. As a licensed social worker, she was frustrated with the lack of of support and treatment she found available to those suffering.

“Joining the U.S. Pain Foundation has been a great marriage of mission, values, and beliefs in helping people with chronic pain between the two organizations,” says Herman. “Paul Gileno, president of U.S. Pain Foundation, has been very supportive and sincere in elevating Pain Connection’s effective programs to the national level, especially in having support groups with trained leaders. I am honored in working with Paul, his amazing staff and the organization’s volunteers, who are very dedicated in advocating and helping people with chronic pain.”

Pain Connection continues to empower people with chronic pain to improve their quality of life, decrease their sense of isolation, and take a more active role in their treatment.

“The work Gwenn and her team have done to provide information, psychosocial support, coping skills, and training to people with chronic pain, their families and health care providers is unmatched,” says president of U.S. Pain Foundation, Paul Gileno. “We are excited to continue to expand Pain Connection’s outreach and mission in order to help more individuals living with invisible illnesses and pain.”

With an emphasis on growth, this year Pain Connection held its first training for support group leaders in Arizona and has two more scheduled later in the year on the East Coast.  Included in that goal is offering more live support group meetings in more communities.

For more information about Pain Connection’s events and resources, visit painconnection.org.