Chornic Pain

Chronic pain is pain that is ongoing and usually lasts longer than six months. This type of pain can continue even after the injury or illness that caused it has healed or gone away. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. Some people suffer chronic pain even when there is no past injury or apparent body damage.

People who have chronic pain can have physical effects that are stressful on the body. These include tense muscles, limited ability to move around, a lack of energy, and appetite changes. Emotional effects of chronic pain include depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of re-injury. Such a fear might limit a person’s ability to return to their regular work or leisure activities.

Step 1: Pre-surgical Psychological Evaluation

Most insurance companies require that patients have a psychological evaluation prior to spinal surgery and implants of spinal cord stimulators and intrathecal pain pump. The purpose of the assessment is to identify risk factors that might negatively impact the success of the procedure. The first part of the evaluation is a structured interview to obtain background information about your pain, medical history, emotional well-being and health behaviors. The second part includes objective assessments of pain management skills, beliefs and behaviors that may interfere with your ability to rehabilitate after the procedure.

Step 2: Evaluation Results

Results of the evaluation are sent in a report to the referring pain management physician/surgeon. The content of the report includes information from your interview and test results.

Also, a feedback session with the evaluator will be scheduled if there appears to be significant risk factors that could interfere with a successful outcome. Possible evaluation recommendations include:

  • An acceptable candidate for the procedure without further behavioral health treatment.
  • Acceptable for surgery with further behavioral health treatment before the surgery.
  • Acceptable for surgery with further behavioral health treatment after surgery.
  • Consider delaying the surgery until after further evaluation and/or behavioral health treatment.
Contact Us for Help

Living with Pain Workshops

In addition to individual assessment and psychotherapy, we offer groups for patients who want to improve the quality of their life while living with a chronic condition. Workshops offered include:

Basics of Chronic Pain Series*

  • Overview of Chronic Pain
  • Understanding Behavior Change
  • Monitoring behavior change
  • Readiness to change and Setting Goals

Life Impact of Chronic Pain*

  • Emotions and Chronic Pain
  • Sex and Chronic Pain
  • Effects of Chronic Pain on the Family
  • Changing Your Thoughts and Beliefs
  • Activity and Chronic Pain

*Each workshop is 1.5 hours once a month

Workshop Registration

To sign-up for a workshop, please call 210-447-6363. We will be happy to discuss your needs and answer questions you have about our counseling services and programs.