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Living with pain is a daily reality for many people, but for those who suffer with regular pain, living a full and active life may seem impossible. At Avalon Malibu, we believe that it is possible to increase our client’s level of functioning and quality of life while they reduce their sense of suffering. The key is to have the right skills, support and direction. We strive to impart these basic principles so that individuals may come to a place of serenity in which to learn. That is a tall order in the arena of health care these days, but we have created an environment for people with pain that helps them build relationships with our staff of health care providers and take an active role in their treatment.
Chronic pain is a condition that researchers are struggling to understand and improve. But there have been advances made in helping people manage pain. These successful programs focus on the total person, not just the pain.
Early Greeks and Romans realized that the brain played a role in the perception of pain. During the 19th century, opiates such as morphine were found to relieve pain. In the late 1890s, a chemist named Felix Hoffmann developed aspirin, which is one of the most commonly used pain relievers today. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), defined pain in 1994 as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience with actual or potential tissue damage.”
In today’s world, pain affects more Americans than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. Pain sensation is the most common reason noted for Americans’ constant access to the health care system. Pain continues to be the leading cause of disability and is a major contributor to rising health care costs. We know that over 25 percent of Americans have suffered from pain that persists longer than 24 hours, and millions more have suffered from acute pain. Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability.
Pain can be a chronic disease, it can be a cancer treatment barrier, and it can occur along with other diseases and conditions like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. The differences in each gender’s perceptions of pain and responses to treatment have led to new discoveries in research on pain relief. For example, new medications which provide relief from acute pain in women sometimes increase pain in men. Scientists have also identified a gene-variant enzyme that reduces sensitivity to acute pain and can decrease the risk of chronic pain. In addition, research has demonstrated that an individual pain management program may reduce cancer pain for some patients.
Going forward, innovative methods are continuing to improve the ability to measure and categorize many types of pain. For example, using computer-assisted technology can help develop programs that will capture pain experiences. These tools, combined with existing treatments, more accurately and consistently measure pain over time and across groups, diseases and conditions.
One of the missions of Avalon Malibu is to provide a supportive, active and caring environment for clients experiencing chronic pain. Our pain management program promotes increases in daily functioning and facilitates decreases in pain suffering. By teaching life-long pain management skills through interdisciplinary treatment, we encourage our clients to better manage their own pain and improve their quality of life.
Our staff is committed to providing clients with the most current and effective treatments available, helping to make advances in the treatment of chronic pain disorders. Avalon Malibu maintains an emphasis on research and a focus on education, not only for our clients and our own health care professionals, but also for our surrounding community as a whole.
The services we offer chronic pain sufferers originate from our main facility at the Grand House. Some of these services include medication management, family-client education, mind-body connection, coping skills, stress management, physical therapy, occupational therapy (posture, body mechanics, ergonomics), relaxation training and more.
Chronic pain wears the body down, stresses the kidneys, adds emotional and physical distress on the body, and increases mental stress on the brain. At Avalon’s Grand House, our staff considers alternative treatments for pain management such as massage therapy, mental distraction, physical activity, meditation and relaxation through nature exploration. Our clients are able to enjoy pain-relieving activities and discover ways to reduce their pain medication needs in order to embrace the quality of their life they hope for and deserve.