Pain Solutions Center of San Diego

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I've never heard of FRP before. What is it?

The Functional Restoration Program (FRP) at the Pain Solutions Center of San Diego is a treatment program that offers individuals suffering from chronic pain an opportunity to regain function for everyday activities.  FRP is an innovative interdisciplinary treatment model, combining intensive physical therapy with movement instruction, relaxation training, individual counseling, and personalized health and nutrition coaching to achieve improved function and wellness.

This balanced treatment approach is collaborative in nature, focusing on a team of health professionals working in concert. The program participant also becomes an active member of the treatment team. FRP is also a holistic approach to managing chronic pain, focusing on treating the whole person, not merely treating the pain or injury. Because of these unique aspects of the treatment model, FRP can achieve profound results that traditional therapies and passive treatment models cannot.

I've had persistent pain for years, and nothing seems to help. Why should I try the Functional Restoration Program at the Pain Solutions Center of San Diego?

FRP is an active approach to therapy, where each participant becomes an active participant in the treatment. Unlike other passive treatment models that you may have previously tried, where treatments were done to you (chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, etc.), the Functional Restoration Program takes an active approach, encouraging you to take responsibility for your own recovery.

FRP provides participants with education, skills and the motivation to move beyond pain management and into improved function and wellness. Participants in the program work toward agreed-upon goals and measurable outcomes, including improved function in daily activities and a faster return to a productive lifestyle, whether at home or work.

FRP is an innovative approach to treatment that combines physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional education and health coaching with training in yoga, relaxation techniques, and the Alexander Technique to create an interdisciplinary treatment model that helps participants achieve profound results, such as:

  • Improved function for daily activities
  • Increased fitness, strength, balance and flexibility
  • Increased confidence and independence
  • Increased feelings of emotional well-being
  • Reduced sense of suffering
  • Decreased feelings of depression, hopelessness, anger and worry associated with chronic pain and loss of function
  • Decreased likelihood of injury recurrence
  • Improved pain-coping skills
  • Reduced reliance on medication
  • Reduced reliance on medical treatments
  • Improved wellness through lifestyle and nutritional choices
  • Quicker return to an active and productive life, whether at home or at work
  • Sustainable results that participants are able to maintain

What makes the Functional Restoration Program (FRP) unique?

FRP is unique because it is an innovative, interdisciplinary and holistic approach to the treatment of chronic pain and the improvement of physical function.

Innovative Approach

For many who suffer from chronic pain, the treatment options all seem the same: ineffective. Many individuals with loss of function and chronic pain deal with feelings of frustration and hopelessness because no treatment method seems to produce the desired results. FRP is an innovative approach that leverages proven techniques in many different fields to achieve exciting results that surpass those available from any one traditional method. The synergy from this innovative treatment method leads to profound outcomes for chronic pain sufferers.

Interdisciplinary Approach

FRP combines intensive physical therapy with movement instruction, relaxation training, individual counseling, and personalized health and nutrition coaching to achieve improved function and wellness. This balanced treatment approach is collaborative in nature, focusing on a team of health professionals working in concert. The program participant also becomes an active and committed member of the team as well, ensuring that the results of the program are sustainable and lead to lifestyle changes rather than just temporary benefits.

Holistic Approach

The Functional Restoration Program (FRP) is a holistic approach to treatment, focusing on treating the whole person, not merely treating the pain or injury. FRP recognizes the importance of the mind-body connection with regards to pain, and helps empower program participants take control of their pain using yoga, relaxation techniques and positive thinking patterns. Participants meet with a health coach and clinical psychologists, and are also educated in nutrition and trained in movement. This "whole person" approach makes FRP uniquely effective in managing chronic pain and improving function.

Can FRP eliminate my pain?

While the Functional Restoration Program cannot eliminate pain, the focus of the program is on improving the individual's quality of life while coping with chronic pain. FRP helps participants increase physical function, improve emotional well being, regain confidence and reclaim an active, productive lifestyle.

What is the Alexander Technique, and why is it used in the Functional Restoration Program?

The Alexander Technique is a method of mindful movement. It has been studied for decades by dancers, actors and musicians, but can be learned and applied by people of all ages and lifestyles. Training in the technique helps participants achieve new balance by releasing unnecessary tension in the body. The technique helps participants become aware of inefficient habits of movement and change them to achieve ease of movement. The Alexander Technique also teaches the use of appropriate amounts of effort for particular movements, resulting in increased energy levels because effort is not expended unnecessarily.

Participants find that training in the Alexander Technique helps them increase their balance and coordination, and results in a new freedom and ease of movement. The technique can be applied to sitting, standing, walking, lying down, lifting and all daily physical activities. The Alexander Techniques is a key component of FRP, as it aids in the restoration of physical function and a return to an active and healthy lifestyle.

What is yoga, and why is it used in the Functional Restoration Program?

When someone has a severe injury, they may become anxious about feeling pain or reinjuring themselves. Because of this anxiety, the brain and body may become overprotective which leads to a hypersensitivity of the nervous system, causing an increase in stiffness and pain.

Hypersensitivity can trigger the stress response, building new links and strengthening the connection between the two, which is called neuroplasticity. This process can lead to a chronic state of stress, pain and suffering. When your pain is connected with what is going on in the mind, learning how to reduce daily stress is one of the most important steps you can take in preventing and coping with chronic pain.

The good news is that your mind and body have a built-in healing process, which includes natural pain-suppressing abilities. Yoga can stimulate the release of the brain's natural pain-suppressing chemicals.

You can learn to use yoga poses and breathing exercises to shift your focus away from suffering. If you focus your mind on the rhythm of your breathing, you are not focused on the pain. The deep breathing used during yoga will also active the "relaxation response" which is capable of interrupting the pain-stress response. Breathing techniques are powerful tools for breaking the chronic stress and pain cycle.

Your body has learned how to "do" chronic pain, now you can use neuroplasticity to learn the "relaxation response" and promote self-healing. You can create new connections with positive experiences of yoga, relaxation techniques and other life enhancing practices.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and why is it part of the Functional Restoration Program?

The concept behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that our thoughts and emotions are closely tied to our behaviors. Negative or dysfunctional thinking affects not only our mood and emotions, but also our behavior and our physical state.  Individuals dealing with injury, illness, chronic pain and loss of function often struggle with feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, anger and hopelessness. These emotions often lead to negative thinking, which can lead to behaviors that actually perpetuate pain rather than promote wellness.

Cognitive behavioral therapy with our clinical psychologists helps participants identify the negative thought patterns they have and retrain their thinking to embrace healthier thoughts that lead to emotional and physical well-being. Participants in FRP find that through cognitive behavioral therapy they are able to work through negative emotions in a safe and supportive environment. Participants learn to replace negative thinking patterns with positive, healthy ones, which in turn leads to feelings of empowerment, confidence and independence, and a reduced sense of suffering.

Why is Relaxation Training and Stress Management a part of the Functional Restoration Program?

The "whole person" approach of FRP focuses on the mind-body connection and recognizes the important role the brain plays in chronic pain. For those dealing with chronic pain, the feelings of fear, worry and anxiety about illness, injury or loss of function often lead to stress. Stress causes the nervous system to keep the body on alert, increasing stress hormones and keeping muscles in a constant state of tension.

A key aspect of pain management is the ability to direct the brain away from focusing on the pain. Relaxation is an important tool that does just that. Relaxation not only calms the mind, it also relaxes muscles, reduces stress hormones in the body, and elevates a sense of well-being.

Relaxation does not come easily, especially for those who suffer from chronic pain. Relaxation techniques must be learned from professionals and practiced to become effective pain-relieving tools. Relaxation training in the Functional Restoration Program includes exercises in breathing, guided imagery, self-talk and meditation.

What is Health Coaching and Nutritional Education? What part do they play in the Functional Restoration Program?

FRP teaches participants to take responsibility for their health by making informed, healthy choices. Health coaching and nutritional education are key elements in this "whole person" approach to wellness.

Health Coaching

Health coaching (often called wellness coaching) is a key aspect of the Functional Restoration Program. A health coach helps participants make sustainable behavior and lifestyle changes that lead to increased health and wellness. Coaching helps individuals assess their current level of health and wellness, set goals, break those goals down into measurable action steps, make a plan to incorporate new habits into everyday life, and provide feedback and encouragement along the way. Because health coaching focuses on empowering the individual to take responsibility for their own health and wellness, it is an important aspect of the "whole person" approach that makes FRP unique and successful.

Nutritional Education

We've all heard it: "You are what you eat." And it turns out that this age-old adage is actually true. Nutritional education and counseling is an important aspect of FRP, because it empowers participants to make nutritional choices that can have profound results in their daily health and wellness. While making nutritional changes cannot always eliminate pain, eating right can help reduce inflammation, improve circulation, repair body tissues, regulate body processes and promote healing. FRP participants also find that by becoming educated in nutrition and learning to fuel their body with foods that support healing, they increase their energy level, improve their ability to relax, and gain a sense of well-being they haven't previously experienced.

How long is the Functional Restoration Program?

The Functional Restoration Program is tailored to the specific needs of each participant, so each participant's experience is different. Participants attend sessions one to five days per week for one to six weeks, depending on their needs.

Sessions are held on Monday through Friday, from 9 am until 3 pm with a half hour break for lunch each day.