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VHA Pain Management, Opioid Safety, and PDMP

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For Veterans/Public - Chronic Pain 101: How to Break the Cycle

For Veterans/Public - Chronic Pain 101: How to Break the Cycle

This section provides tools addressing "Pain Management 101," developed for Veterans/patients.

Pain Management 101 - What You Can Do to Help Decrease Your Pain:

Pace Yourself
  • Take breaks before pain starts, slowly do more to build confidence.
Practice Relaxation & Stress Reduction
  • Use coping tools to down-regulate danger/threat system & balance body and mind.
Exercise & Physical Activity
  •  “Motion is lotion," daily movement (e.g. regular walks) to promote functioning.
Find Activities You Enjoy
  • Spend time every day doing something you value. This can help break the depressive cycle, and limit avoidance coping.
Work with Physical Therapy
  • Daily stretches strengthen muscles and increase functioning.
Practice Communication Skills
  • Use of “I” statements helps others understand, “I’m frustrated when…”
  • It’s important to share how you feel
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Improve sleep habits
  • Make healthy food choices

Resources - Chronic Pain 101: How to Break the Cycle

Title Source Description
  VA - Rocky Mountain MIRECC Learn about Proven Treatment for Chronic Pain.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain (CBT-CP) is shown to be effective in helping better manage & take control of chronic pain.
 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain (CBT-CP) web page icon  Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) CBT-CP is available to Veterans throughout the VA health care system
  VA Mental Illness Research Education Clinical, Centers of Excellence (MIRECC, CoE) Handout for Veterans about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain (CBT-CP)
Whole Health Library - Chronic Pain web page icon  Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Narrative shows what a Whole Health clinical visit would look like.
Understanding Pain  * Department of Defense (DoD) - Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Joint Pain Education Project (JPEP). Understanding Pain video was developed to provide individuals, family members, and clinicians with general strategies for managing acute and chronic pain.
Chronic Pain and PTSD: A Guide for Patients web page icon  Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Article about Chronic Pain and PTSD
7 Things You Should Know About Pain * (pdf) This information comes directly from
Explain Pain * (pdf)   A brochure explaining the elements of pain.
Women Veterans Health Care - Chronic Pain web page icon Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) What is chronic pain, what are the symptoms, and treatments.
Chronic Pain: In Depth * icon web page National Institute of Health (NIH)* Variouis topics about addressing chronic pain.
Chronic Pain in 5 Minutes * icon place holder Hunter Integrated Pain Service (HIPS) Video about what current research has been saying about chronic pain. 
Management of Opioid Therapy (OT) for Chronic Pain (2017) icon webpage VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines Material about the Management of Opioid Therapy (OT) for Chronic Pain (Patient/Providers.)
Practical Pain Management(PPM) Tips that can help you manage your pain and its effects on your overall quality of life.
A Car With Four Flat Tires *  TheACPAChannel Video that depicts, a person with pain is like a car with four flat tires.
In the Spotlight - Pain Management  web page icon My HealtheVet Pain is the most often reported reason for seeking medical care.
Proactive Pain Management: 10 Ways to Manage Your Chronic Pain web page icon Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) It is important to find ways to manage your pain over the long term, without negative side effects.
Understanding Pain * web page icon Mayo Clinic Provides information about pain, the differences between chronic and acute pain, and factors that affect pain
Chronic Pain: Psychological Factors *web page icon Cleveland Clinic Explains how the experience of pain is related to more than physical factors, like nerve impulses, but is also affected by our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Veterans/Public Pain Management - Resource Topics

chronicpain self management Complementary Treatments faqs

Disclaimer: *Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.