Chronic Pain Self-Management Program

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Self-Management Research
Chronic Pain Self-Management Program

The Chronic Pain Self-Management Program is a lay-led patient education program. This program is led by pairs of trained lay leaders to groups of ten to sixteen people once each week for 2 and ½ hours for six consecutive weeks. Courses are held in community locations such as recreation centres, community centres, schools and churches. Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals living with chronic pain or other chronic health conditions.

The program includes the following content:
  • identifying common feelings;
  • debunking myths about chronic pain;
  • the differences between acute and chronic pain;
  • understanding the pain and symptom cycle;
  • making action plans;
  • physical activity and exercise;
  • pacing;
  • balancing activity and rest;
  • better breathing and progressive muscle relaxation;
  • the Moving Easy Program (the script for a set of 25 gentle range of motion and flexibility movements);
  • dealing with difficult emotions;
  • distraction;
  • fatigue and sleep management;
  • guided imagery relaxation;
  • communication;
  • healthy eating;
  • problem solving;
  • medications for chronic pain;
  • depression;
  • positive thinking;
  • visualization;
  • making informed treatment decisions;
  • working and communicating with health care professionals;
  • looking back and planning for the future.
Each participant in the workshop receives a copy of the companion book, Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Conditions, 4th Edition and the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program Workbook (including the Easy Moving Program CD). It is the process in which the program is taught that makes it effective. Classes are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives. The Chronic Pain Self-Management Program will not conflict with existing programs or treatment. It is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education on chronic pain.

Program participants include people experiencing chronic musculoskeletal pain (such as chronic neck, shoulder, back pain, etc.) whiplash injuries, chronic regional pain syndromes, repetitive strain injury, chronic pelvic pain, post-surgical pain that last beyond 6 months, neuropathic pain (often caused by trauma), or neuralgias (such as post herpetic pain, and trigeminal neuralgia), and post stroke or central pain. It may also be appropriate for those with conditions such as persistent headache, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, people with diabetes who have neuropathy, and for individuals who have severe muscular pain due to conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Family, friends and caregivers are also invited to attend. Participants must be able to function in a group setting and set goals.
Program participants are self-referred. Recruitment strategies include a website and toll-free line, brochures, flyers, and posters, newspaper and television advertisements, and presentations to the public.

Program Manuals
The Chronic Pain Self-Management Program is a standardized program with program manuals for Leaders (facilitators of the six-session workshop), and Master Trainers (trainers of leaders).

Fidelity Standards for Training and Implementation
The Chronic Pain Self-Management Program follows a structured implementation and intervention model. The evidence-based self management programs previously offered by the Stanford Patient Education Research Center have moved to the Self-Management Resource Center. In 2016, the SMRC published a “Program Fidelity Manual” and “Administration/Implementation Manual” for trainers and administrators. The program is copyrighted by the Self-Management Resource Center (SMRC) and each organization wishing to implement the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program applies and purchases a license from SMRC. A contract is developed and licensees are obligated to deliver the program in the specified manner with no modifications or additions. For more information, please visit the SMRC website at www.selfmanagementresource.com.

Program’s Evaluation History
  • LeFort, S., Watt-Watson, J., Webber, K. (2003, May). Results of a Randomized Trial of the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program (CPSMP) in Three Canadian Provinces. Poster session presentation at the Canadian Pain Society Annual Meeting. Abstract published in: Pain and Research Management, 2003, 8 (Supp. B), 47b, Abstract No: P-73.
  • LeFort, S.M. (2000). A test of Braden’s self-help model in adults with chronic pain. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 32, 153-160.
  • LeFort, S., Gray-Donald, K., Rowat, K.M., & Jeans, M.E. (1998). A randomized controlled trial of a community-based psycho-education program for the self-management of chronic pain. Pain, 74, 297-306