Whole Health for Veterans with Chronic Pain

Whole Health for Veterans with Chronic Pain

Dr. Carol Bowman has worked with patients with chronic pain for over 10 years, and with Veterans for the past 6 years. In addition to Primary Care Internal Medicine training, Dr. Bowman studied and practiced holistic medicine for over 25 years and is certified in Integrative Pain Management. She learned that people can re-gain their lives and purpose through a holistic approach to medicine, and this created a passion to teach others a holistic approach to pain. This podcast series is based on the VA Whole Health model of care and the Circle of Health and was developed by the VA to provide education and tools for those suffering with chronic pain. If you have a pain program at your facility, this podcast can be used alongside your pain treatment to provide additional information and strategies for reaching your goals. If you do not have a pain program available to you, this series will give you skills and knowledge around self-care and complementary and integrative treatments that you can incorporate into your life to reduce the impact of chronic pain and improve your health and well-being. The podcasts are designed around the Circle of Health and how each area relates to chronic pain. We hope they inform and inspire you to make positive changes for yourself.

Episodes

October 23, 2021 42 min
Dr. Michael Hollifield and Dr. Ben Kligler discuss how to put all of this information together into a pain management approach that improves health and well-being. This includes topics such as how to talk with your provider, combining clinical care with acupuncture, chiropractic care, physical therapy, medications, and other approaches with self- care, having a team, developing a plan for flare-ups, and resilience and self -efficac...
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In this episode, Dr. Katherine Bailey and Dr. Kaye Morgan explore the role of thought processes in pain management. People with chronic pain can have their thoughts hijacked by pain, and once pain takes your focus it is hard to think about anything other than the pain. We discuss how thoughts create emotions and physical sensations in the body, including how our fear of or anticipation of pain increases pain in the body. The good n...
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September 29, 2021 33 min
Growing and Connecting- Dr. Brown Johnson and Chaplain Cleaver join us in the podcast to discuss how spirit and soul can be an important part of healing from chronic pain. We discuss how this can be part of the clinical visit or even support providers in their work. We discuss how moral injury can be a factor in chronic pain and suffering and how this can be addressed and discussed. Often injuries in war are associated with seeing...
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Dr. Steve Hunt discusses how relationships can be challenging when someone has chronic pain. Chronic pain often leads to isolation and the feeling that no one can understand, while family members can be confused or alienated. Family members may do too much, too little, or provide the support and nourishment Veterans need to heal and regain a higher level of functioning. In this podcast. Dr. Hunt discusses how Veterans with chronic ...
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Dr. Aaron Martin discusses the connection between sleep and pain and how they influence each other: people with chronic pain have poor sleep due to pain, while poor sleep leads to chronic pain. Chronic pain is due to an overactive nervous system while sleep requires the nervous system to be in a relaxed state. There are many ways to approach sleep and rest besides taking medications and, in fact, many sleep medications do not provi...
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Dr. Nancy Cotter joins the podcast to demonstrate how what you eat and drink impacts the amount of pain you experience. During this episode we learn that food is information for your cells, and anything we consume that is not a healthy whole food is treated as a toxin. Healthy foods are broken down into nutrients the body can use for fuel and cell repair, while unhealthy foods activate the body’s emergency response system and produ...
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Dr. Dave Kopacz discusses chronic pain as a call to growth and change, a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual journey to become someone new. He explores re-engaging in meaningful activities, focusing on what you can do, and allowing grief over loss of previous activities. Because chronic pain is processed through the brain, developing new interests, hobbies, taking classes, or any focus on developing oneself further creates n...
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Dr. Aaron Waters discusses the healing power of nature, green space, and environment, including aromas. We can all feel the impact of our surroundings, as being in nature and surrounded by beauty affects our whole selves. Dr. Waters discusses creating living and workspaces that feel peaceful with color, sound, light, art, plants, scents, and other environmental conditions that influence our mood, our stress levels, and therefore ou...
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Kathryn Schopmeyer and Dr. Andrea Buccino discuss the importance of movement and activity in managing chronic pain. Pain often leads people to stop moving, which weakens the body and makes the pain worse. Our bodies have a natural ability to heal given the proper conditions and moving in a healthy way improves our overall health and well-being. Dr. Schopmeyer and Dr. Buccino explain that instead of focusing on our injuries and limi...
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Dr. Greg Serpa discusses the importance of mindfulness as the basis of a Whole Health approach to chronic pain and explains how mindful awareness can impact pain and suffering. We learn that mindful awareness is the foundation to the Circle of Health and discuss the difference between pain and suffering. While the conventional approach to care treats discomfort as an enemy to be extinguished, mindful awareness teaches us that being...
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Dr. Elizabeth “Bitsy” Recupero explores the concept of “Me at the center of the circle.” We discuss the importance of finding one’s Mission, Aspiration, and Purpose (MAP) and how to use the Personal Health Inventory (PHI), which is downloadable for participants. The discussion focuses on why whole health is important to the Veteran as well as the clinician and how it informs care for chronic pain.
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Dr. Friedhelm Sandbrink, Dr. Jennifer Murphy, and Dr. Ben Kligler discuss an overview of chronic pain, why opiates are no longer recommended, the current recommended approach for management of chronic pain, and why Whole Health and self-care are effective and necessary to integrate into any treatment approach for those suffering with chronic pain.
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