Neurobehavioral Medicine Consultants
Pain Management

Pain Management

Many patients with chronic pain face a number of hurdles that, if left untreated, can impair their abilities to recover. Significant pain, especially if chronic, can be a life-altering condition, and medication usually has a central role in its treatment. However, because the mind and body are inextricably related and have profound effects on each other, severe physical pain is likely to be accompanied by psychological factors such as depression and anxiety. These psychological aspects can have a significant impact on the degree to which the patient's life is impacted by his or her pain, yet they are not always either fully recognized or adequately treated. If not properly addressed, they may prevent even the best medical management plan from being as effective as possible.

Portrait of Doctor Gachet, van Gogh

It is these psychological components of the pain syndrome that the clinical psychologist deals with when assessing a patient's pain and making recommendations for intervention. Dr. Yerzley teaches patients essential skills and strategies to manage their pain, allowing them to engage in their daily activities. She works closely with each patient's physician and monitors the patient's compliance with medication regimens and other medical interventions.

Since every patient experiences pain differently, a thorough assessment covering physiological, social and psychological factors is an essential prerequisite to mapping a course of treatment. A pain management therapy course includes an initial evaluation, during which Dr. Yerzley gathers data about medication, stressors, and behavior that may affect the patient. She also takes a complete history of biological, psychological, and social factors that may be involved in the patient's pain perception process, and may administer psychological tests such as the Pain Patient Profile (P-3). She encourages active patient participation in the treatment process and works with each patient to identify goals which the patient will see as successful outcomes. Ongoing education regarding expected responses to treatment is critical in promoting the patient's role in the process.

Behavioral interventions such as relaxation training, biofeedback/neurofeedback training, and cognitive behavioral therapy are particularly well suited for management of pain and other illnesses.

To explore some of the various aspects of pain further, take the Pain Profile.