Back Pain Resource Center - alternative treatment options for back pain
A catalogue of our favorite ways for relieving back pain
It was about 10 years ago and I had finally hit rock bottom. I found myself usually laying on the floor all day to avoid back spasms and barely able to sit for 5 minutes at a time. Then a rehabilitation doctor referred me to the Boulder Community Hospital Pain Clinic (I believe it's now part of the Hospital's Mapleton Center at (303) 443-0230). I attended the Pain Clinic for about 6 - 8 weeks, and it was the first step in turning my life around.
The Boulder pain clinic, I have learned since, is a bit different than other so called "pain clinics". Often these other "pain clinics" really only offer nerve block treatments for the most part, and they are found in many metropolitan areas. The Boulder Pain Clinic, on the other hand, is one of a smaller number of pain clinics that offer comprehensive programs. These programs include rehabilitation work (with a physical therapist), occupational therapy work, exercise programs (we had treadmills, weights, and a wonderful warm water pool to work out in), psychiatric counseling, group counseling, and pain medication management (to help people reduce or get off their pain medication). My understanding is that these types of Pain Clinic programs are available throughout the country - you just have to research a bit to find one in your local area or one you might wish to travel to.
While I have not kept up with the Boulder Pain Clinic, when I was there almost 10 years ago, it was mainly a live-in program. Most patients came for a month or two and lived in small cottages near the clinic. The program was a full daily program - my memory is that it was a 9 - 5 full day of different activities. I was one of the few patients who went for a half day, but I found it worked well for me.
While the Pain Clinic did not alleviate my back pain, it did give me enough strength and endurance to be able to do a minimum of daily activities. I was grateful for this progress, and enjoyed just being able to go shopping for groceries again or go out to dinner once in a while. I saw other patients more dramatically helped by the Pain Clinic, especially those who were on heavy medications. Many were able to either drasticly reduce their medications or get off them entirely - and they seemed like completely different people than the hopeless people that I had met just a few weeks before. For many of these people, and myself included, the Pain Clinic got us back on our feet when we had become almost hopeless. So though I had a long way to go after leaving the Pain Clinic, I came away with some hope that I could overcome this chronic pain after seeing a small increase in my strength while my spasms and pain diminished a bit.
Probably the best way to find a good Pain Clinic in your area is to ask your doctor or other people you know who have suffered with back or chronic pain. Be sure to ask whether they offer the comprehensive type of approach that the Boulder Clinic offered and don't just prescribe nerve block treatments. And if you do find a terrific Pain Clinic, please write us and we will list it in our resource section.