VHA Pain Management
For Veterans/Public - Self Management
This section provides links to tools on "Self Management," developed for Veterans/patients. The most important person in this process of managing pain is YOU!
The most important factor in managing pain is the role of the Veteran/patient. Self-management is the best way to improve your level of activity, reduce disability and keep pain to a minimum. When people take control over their pain, they feel empowered and able to resume normal activities—or even learn something new. There is no better feeling than that, for people who have been controlled by pain.
VA Mobile Apps
|Evidence supports a long-term recovery process for the treatment of chronic pain that highlights various "self-management techniques" addressing the mind and the body. Active therapies such as movement, stretching, relaxation, and mindfulness help those with chronic pain respond in the most helpful way.
The VA has a number of mobile apps that are free. These include relaxation options such as Breathe2Relax and Tactical Breather, Virtual Hope Box, Mindfulness Coach and the VA Pain Coach. Link to mobile apps site.
VA COVID Coach App
|A mobile application for Veterans, Servicemembers, and anyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
• Learn ways to improve your well-being during this global pandemic
• Use trackers for mental health and personal goals
• Find tools for coping and self-care
• Follow links to additional resources
Learn more about the “new” VA COVID Coach app.
Self-Managing Chronic Pain
If you would like to take charge of your pain management, listed below are some things to help you keep you on track:
• Learn deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help you relax.
• Reduce stress in your life. Stress intensifies chronic pain.
• Boost chronic pain relief with the natural endorphins from exercise.
• Cut back on alcohol, which can worsen sleep problems.
• Don't smoke. It can worsen chronic pain.
• Learn biofeedback or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to decrease pain.
• Get a massage for chronic pain relief.
• Eat a healthy diet if you're living with chronic pain.
• Find ways to distract yourself from pain so you enjoy life more.
Resources - Self Management
|Tamar Pincus, Ph.D., Professor in Health Psychology||This video demonstrates a way to think about acceptance that is not the same as giving up. This can help you see how to engage fully in life despite the pain.|
|Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)||Online course that teaches skills to help overcome stressful problems and meet your goals.|
|VA - Rocky Mountain MIRECC||Public information website for Veterans, family members, and others interested in learning more about evidence-based psychotherapies (or “E-B-Ps”). EBPs can help with depression, insomnia, substance use problems, chronic pain, relationship distress, and other “invisible wounds.”|
|Swiss start-up, Sanovation AG||App - that includes a pain diary that allows for tracking pain level and location.|
|Defense Health Agency
(DHA) Connected Health
|App - Tools for promoting relaxation, coping with difficult situations, engaging in positive thinking, and distracting oneself during difficult times on|
|Defense Health Agency
(DHA) Connected Health
|App - Includes guided breathing and muscle relaxation techniques that are effective for lowering tension and stress.|
|VA Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain brochure (pdf)||VA - Rocky Mountain MIRECC||Brochure provides an overview of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain.|
|Managing Chronic Pain: A Cognitive Behavioral Approach *||WebMD||Describes the approach to CBT for Chronic Pain and what treatment involves, and what to expect in treatme|
|Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain *||Southern Pain Society||Describes the steps of CBT for Chronic Pain and the focus of treatment on changing thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that contribute to chronic pain|
|Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain (CBT-CP) -Veterans||VA Pain Management||Info about CBT-CP, video, and focus is on Veterans.|
|Phone-based Meditation Class on Yoga Sleep (iRest®)||VA War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC)||Yoga nidra (yoga sleep) is a spoken word guided meditation that promotes a sense of deep calm while enhancing awareness.|
|Pacing for Pain-worksheet *(pdf)||Gov Western Australla Dpt of Health||These guides can help you learn how to pace your activities effectively and appropriately. Energy management is also pain management|
|Pacing for Pain-formula *(pdf)||PSYCHOLOGYTooLS.org||Pacing is a skill that enables you to consistently carry out activities without causing extra pain.|
|American Chronic Pain Association*||American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA)||This website can provide you with information about chronic pain, management, providers and skills.|
|Coping Tools - Deep Breathing*||Harvard Medical School||Deep Breathing information to help with pain management. This can be done on your own, at any time.|
|Coping Tools - Relaxation Techniques*||National Institute of Health (NIH)||Relaxation techniques to help with pain management. This can be done on your own at any time.|
|Understanding Pain* (video)||Hunter Integrated Pain Service (HIPS)||Easy to follow video about pain and how you can approach it effectively.|
|Flare-Up Management Planning (pdf)||Department of Veterans Affairs - attribute Pain Management Network||This is a document you can work on with your loved ones and providers. Having a written plan for preventing and coping with a pain flare is essential.|
Intro to Neuroplasticity (pdf)
|Department of Veterans Affairs - attribute Norman Doidge’s books: The Brain that Changes Itself and The Brains Way of Healing.||Learn some basic information about how the brain can change, and also change your pain.|
|ACI Pain Management Network||This website contains information to enable you to develop skills and knowledge in the self management of your pain|
|VHA Office of Patient Centered Care||Whole health care, designed to help Veterans achieve and maintain their best all-around health and well-being.|
|VHA CARF accredited (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) Inpatient Pain Treatment enter||Inpatient and outpatient chronic pain treatment program established in 1988 to help Veterans with chronic pain. National referrals welcome.|