In mid-March, prospective leaders of chronic pain support groups all over America gathered in San Francisco for a weekend of specialized training. Skilled trainers from U.S. Pain Foundation were there to teach the strategies that will allow attendees to effectively establish and run support groups across the country.
“This was our fifth chronic pain support group leader training,” said Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, Clinical Director of Pain Connection, a program of U.S. Pain Foundation. “I am always amazed watching the leaders develop confidence, knowledge, and compassion. This San Francisco training group was wonderful and the family members that attended added depth to our discussions.”
Through Pain Connection, U.S. Pain Foundation offers a network of support groups across the country. These support groups are led by people with pain who have received special training via Pain Connection’s Clinical Director, Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, a licensed social worker and person with pain.
We are currently looking to expand our support group offerings to even more states through our next training on March 16 & 17 in San Francisco, CA, at the Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco Airport/Burlingame.
Pain Connection, a program of U.S. Pain Foundation, will host a two-day training program for support group leaders in mid-March in San Francisco. The dates are most likely to be March 15-17, but will be confirmed in the coming week. All are welcome to apply to attend.
The trainings are designed to teach peer leaders and/or health professionals to work with individuals with chronic pain in a group setting. Attendees leave feeling empowered to begin their own local support groups, with ongoing guidance and help from Pain Connection. Presently, U.S. Pain and Pain Connection offer support groups in 14 states, in addition to three monthly conference call support groups.
A recording is now available of U.S. Pain Foundation’s Nov. 26 panel discussion, “Chronic pain and the risk of suicide: A staggering crisis and what to do about it.”
The event was prompted by a study published this September in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which found that more than 10 percent of suicide cases in the United States involve chronic pain. Panelists discussed reasons behind this statistic, offer tips for coping with the mental health challenges pain creates, and gave suggestions for how clinicians and caregivers can help.
According to a study published this September in the Annals of Internal Medicine, more than 10 percent of suicide cases in the United States involve chronic pain. We have long known that people with pain are more likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation–on top of physical suffering. But this number is staggering, and indicates the need for more awareness around the degree of despair pain can cause.
By Anne M. Smith, owner of Travel & Events Extraordinaire and a U.S. Pain ambassador
When I was first bombarded with multiple pain conditions nine years ago, I was completely overwhelmed, and there are still days when it tries to overtake me. As a travel agency owner and event manager, I have had to completely restructure my life, my business and, more importantly, the way I travel.
To understand the difficulties I face, you can think of my nervous system wiring as being totally rerouted. It is akin to a highway construction manager putting up detour signs for my nerves all throughout my body—they are confused with which exit to take. So, they have gone haywire, leaving central nervous sensitization in its path and my pain receptors are all on high alert. Couple that with referring pain and we have a map of tangled highways, streets, and roads going around in an endless cloverleaf exit ramp.
TUCSON, ARIZ., AND MIDDLETOWN, CONN. (August 3, 2018)–The Massage Therapy Foundation announced today that it has awarded a $5,000 Community Service Grant to the U.S. Pain Foundation, the leading chronic pain advocacy organization in the country. The grant will fund free massage therapy and self-massage training to people living with pain, in an effort to understand whether massage therapy can help reduce the use of pain medications. U.S. Pain Foundation’s proposal was one of four recipients selected by the Massage Therapy Foundation from a total of 46 applications nationwide.
On June 16 and 17, U.S. Pain Foundation hosted an intensive training for nine future chronic pain support group leaders in Chicago, IL.
The training program was developed by Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, clinical director of Pain Connection, a program of U.S. Pain. By training more group leaders, U.S. Pain hopes to expand its network of support groups. Presently, U.S. Pain and Pain Connection offer support groups in eight states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Washington, and California, in addition to three conference call support groups.
U.S. Pain Foundation’s Pain Connection has launched several new support groups. Four of the new groups are in-person: two have already begun meeting in Vancouver, WA, and Pascua Yaqui Tribe, AZ; two additional groups will begin meeting in Sacramento, CA, and in Bloomington, IN, in June and August, respectively. Full details are available on the Pain Connection website. In addition, the Pain Connection Live conference call support group is now meeting for a new, third session each month, on Saturdays at 11 am EST.
Two U.S. Pain Foundation staff members–Cindy Steinberg, national director of Policy and Advocacy, and Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, clinical director of Pain Connection–have been nominated to serve on influential committees within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Steinberg was announced May 1 as one of 28 members appointed to the newly established Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force. Steinberg is the only representative selected from a patient organization. The task force, created as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, aims to outline best practices and address gaps and inconsistencies in the management of acute and chronic pain.