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VHA Pain Management


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For Veterans/Public - Self Management

For Veterans/Public - Self-Management

This section provides links to tools on "Self Management," developed for Veterans/patients.

Self Management

self management

  • •  How you approach your chronic pain will impact how you feel, your quality of life, and potential improvement.
    •  Be active in your own care.
    •  You are the team leader!
    •  Your provider or healthcare team is only a small part of your care.
    •  Take control by making  healthy choices that affect your pain, mood, and daily functioning.
    •  Put effort into making changes you know work.
    •  Manage your pain like other chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
    •  Medications, injections, and surgeries, etc. are only one way of dealing with pain.
    •  Be willing to explore many ways to live with chronic pain.

VA Mobile Apps

Mobile phone with app on display  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 forthcoming VA Pain Coach.  Link to mobile apps site

Resources - Self Management

Title/Link                                       Source Description

New - Pain and ME: Tamar Pincus talks about chronic pain, acceptance and commitment (video)*

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.

New - Moving Forward Course   web page icon

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Online course that teaches skills to help overcome stressful problems and meet your goals.

New - Treatment Works for Vets  web page icon

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.
Virtual Hope Box - Download for Apple or Android. *
DoD National Center for Telehealth and Technology App - Tools for promoting relaxation, coping with difficult situations, engaging in positive thinking, and distracting oneself during difficult times on
Breathe2Relax - Download for Apple or Android *
DoD National Center for Telehealth and Technology 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
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) 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.

Pain Management Network*

ACI Pain Management Network This website contains information to enable you to develop skills and knowledge in the self management of your pain

VA Patient Centered Care 

VHA Office of Patient Centered Care    Whole health care, designed to help Veterans achieve and maintain their best all-around health and well-being.

Veterans/Public Pain Management - Resource Topics

 chronicpain  self management medical treatments 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.