What is Chronic Pain?

Pain is the body’s way to communicate to the brain that something is wrong. It is a reaction to an injury or illness. Once the body heals, the body usually stops communicating pain to the brain, and the body stops hurting. However, for many people the pain continues long after its cause is gone. It becomes chronic pain when it lasts for 3 months or more. According to the Institute of Medicine, at least 100 million adults in the United States suffer from chronic pain. It is the most common reason that people see a physician.

What We Offer:

Chronic pain touches all aspects of a person’s life. That’s why here at San Luis Valley Health we believe in treating the whole person. We’ve designed several chronic pain management services that combine the expertise of your medical provider with those of a behavioral health specialist:


Individual therapy:

In our clinic, we have two licensed behavioral health providers who have training in therapies that have been effective in working with people who suffer from chronic pain. Usually therapy is built to run fifty minutes, once a week or what you and your therapist discuss. There are many times where chronic pain is not able to be explained by traditional medical means. Sometimes people develop chronic pain during their lives because of trauma events, continuous high stress or neglecting self-care.

Pain Clinic:

 Mallori Gariner, FNP-C, has partnered up with the behavioral health team to create a comprehensive pain program. Mallori will meet with all patients face to face, to discuss their individual goals and desired approach to their pain. Patients are then scheduled for their intake into the program where the care team will help develop an individualized treatment plan with you. Most patients are seen once every 28 days while they begin the program and delve in to the complicated disease that is Chronic Pain.  Each visit is approximately 60-75 minutes long, during which you will spend time with many different members of your care team. You will meet with a behavioral health therapist for approximately 20 minutes during each visit. The therapist will teach relaxation skills to help manage chronic pain; teach skills to reframe thoughts that result in increased pain; teach stress management skills; and teach skills for appropriate activity pacing.  Mallori will then begin working on the medical and biophysical side of your pain, as well as manage prescriptions involved in your care. The goal of the pain program is to increase functionality and quality of life, while offering patients safe and effective alternatives to narcotic and opioid pain medications.



We also offer a continuous six week chronic pain management group to help teach you ways to cope with pain and achieve a greater level of functioning. Our group meets every Thursday from noon to two in the afternoon at the grizzly conference center. The group is designed to connect people who struggle with chronic pain, while also helping patients learn ways to live with their pain.


Why Our Integrated Approach?

Chronic pain often interferes with daily life. It keeps people from doing things they want and need to do. It takes a toll on self-esteem. It is common for people living with chronic pain to feel angry, depressed, anxious and frustrated. The link between emotions and pain often creates a cycle; when someone is hurting they are more likely to feel depressed, which is shown to make pain worse. Behavioral health therapy aims to break this pain cycle. By addressing the emotional distress created from pain, people are more likely able to manage their chronic pain and live a meaningful and fulfilling life. Additionally, behavioral health approaches teach skills to help the person feel in control over their pain, rather than feeling controlled by it.


What Patients Say About Our Chronic Pain Management Services:

 “I’m not alone”                                “I need to keep trying”  “Ways to help my partner”          “Stress effects pain”       “Chronic pain is not acute pain”                   “New perceptive on how to deal with chronic pain”         “Very helpful”                   “I didn’t know stress causes more pain”                 “The instructor was very pleasant and made me feel comfortable”          “I never realized all the emotions associated with chronic pain”   “Appreciate all the help!”             “I think a chronic pain class would be one of the most sought after classes in SLV”


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