Ikigai: Alchemy and Lifestyle Medicine for Chronic Pain Management
Relief of pain and suffering may be considered the major goal of medical therapeutics. For almost 20 years, the medicalization and iatrogenic process of pain management created a passive, opio-centric paradigm. This did little to benefit those with chronic pain and devastated many thousands in communities across the United States. Pillution, the widespread over-prescription of opioid pain medications, resulted in profound increases in morbidity and mortality while not providing durable pain relief nor improvement in function.
As this occurred individuals were distanced from the elements of life that provide saliency: hobbies, employment and other self-rewarding activities. In short, individuals lost purpose as they became exiled from the body and life they enjoyed.
A new active, participatory paradigm has emerged. Treatment is no longer opio-centric but individualized and polymodal, designed to reduce pain but – perhaps more critically – to build coping strategies, as well as mental health and physical abilities, to restore hope and function. This is Lifestyle Medicine. It incorporates many treatment modalities and concepts, such as cognitive-behavioral training, mindfulness, WFPB food as medicine, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, graduated exercise and tobacco cessation.
This presentation will highlight data from Lifestyle type interventions in pain management. Modalities and approaches will include WFPB nutrition, mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise, education, tobacco cessation and the power of purpose. We will briefly present Eskenazi Health’s Integrative Pain Program data to highlight one program’s success. Real individual triumphs will punctuate the presentation. At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will see that this paradigm ameliorates suffering, enhances function and facilitates patients’ return to rewarding and anodyne lives; it effectively repatriates those who had been exiled by their pain and sometimes pain treatments. This comes with a hard won understanding that pain can be a part of someone but need not define the entirety of one’s being.
- Understand data demonstrating negative outcomes associated with opioid use and conventional care
- Identify hope and purpose as elements of recovery
- Learn data demonstrating benefits of yoga, tai chi, food as medicine and mind-body modalities in the management of chronic pain