Jessica Lilly Published

Chronic Pain Self-Management Workshops For Rural Residents Offered Online Through WV School Of Osteopathic Medicine

Describing how pain affects your daily activities may be more effective than the standard pain scale.

A workshop to help people living with chronic pain and their loved ones is available virtually through the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH). The workshop was originally developed by Stanford University and is now offered through the Self Management Resource Center.

The sessions went online during the 2020 global pandemic and have continued as a way to bring new opportunities for people in rural parts of the state and region.

“I think that it does reach people that would normally not be able to be in seat,” said CRCH program associate Misty Boggs. “Virtual is great. We’ve got people from Virginia adding to the workshop.”

The (CRCH) has been offering self pain management classes since 2014.

“Opioids is usually the story when you’re talking about West Virginia and you’re talking about chronic pain,” said Julian Levine, director of community engagement and outreach. “We need all the techniques and non-pharmacological things we can do to give folks more ways to deal with whatever their chronic pain is about. And it’s never only physical or only emotional.”

The workshops provide a toolbox to help people live with chronic pain. Some examples include relaxation, guided imagery, mindfulness, brainstorming and problem-solving. Levine’s personal favorite is sharing communication skills that patients can use during their next visit to the doctor.

“You come away with really concrete tools for making sure that that hour a week or hour a month or hour a year, maybe sometimes, with your healthcare provider can go as smoothly as possible, and you get what you need,” Levine said. “And everyone comes out better served.

“It’s really about giving people new tools and strategies to work with chronic pain.”

Levine says not every patient will need to use every tool in the toolkit, but having options is important.

“I think giving people an open environment and saying we’re not here to tell you what to do, we’re here to give you a whole toolbox,” Levine said. “You take a whole toolbox, you use the things you like, you don’t use the things that don’t work for you, and everyone will come away with something.”

The self pain-management virtual program will last for seven weeks beginning June 1, with both a daytime option and an evening option. Signups are open until May 31. Find out how to sign up the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) Center for Rural and Community Health (CRCH) website.