Participants Stories

Pain Management Program

The Art of Change

Jan Gudkovs

I believe that knowledge empowers people. You can see from the stories that follow that when people use that power profound changes are possible, even in cases of long-standing and severe pain.

However, to achieve this requires two things: consistent practice to change the pathways in the brain that have become involved in processing chronic pain, and the ability to stick with it even though change is not immediate.

The main aim of many people who suffer from chronic pain is to reduce their reliance on medication but the benefits are much broader. When a person's will is harnessed to the reliable principles of neuroplastic change, their life can be transformed.

61 year-old Norm has had pain since he suffered a herniated disc nearly thirtyyears ago. He explains:

I had a L5/S1 spinal fusion and bone graft in 1992 and in 2016 I started to have increased pain levels which have been identified as an L4 disc protrusion with arthritic degeneration causing chronic localised back pain with referred pain to the left hip, calf, shin and foot. The treatments that have been completed include physiotherapy, two separate cortisone injections and an L4/5 facet jointRFN ( Radio frequency neurotomy), all with minimal to no effect on my pain levels.

I have been prescribed Palexia in 150mg and 200mg for this chronic back pain. These are taken 2 x daily with the 200mg taken on days that I worked. Also Gabapentin 300mg x 2 twice a day have been prescribed. The course provided me with insights into what chronic pain is and the causation and origin of the pain. I found the information relating to where and how pain affects the brain insightful and has allowed me to explore alternatives to assist in reducing the levels of medication that I have been taking.

The program has allowed me to utilise meditation, relaxation and several distraction techniques which have assisted me to adjust my response to the chronic pain that I have endured for many years.

Whilst I am not pain free I am still learning to implement the skills that have been shown to me through the program and I am confident that since commencing the program I have had a shift in the way that I am responding to the pain that I experience on a daily basis. With what I have learned during the program I have consciously changed elements of my lifestyle to support and hopefully reduce the impact that the chronic pain is having on my overall life.

The course is an in-depth program that I believe is easy to comprehend and has a good balance of practical application, visual content and group discussion.These qualities, in my opinion have been personally beneficial in supporting my understanding of chronic pain and providing me with a suite of practical tools to assist in having personal control over the levels of pain that affects me on a daily basis. Since completing the program I have ceased taking the 200mg Palexia x 1 twice a day on work days and the Gabapentin 300mg x 2 twice a day.

I strongly recommend this program to anyone who is affected by chronic pain and has the desire to improve their quality of life.

55 year-old Belinda has suffered pain most of her life:

I started with severe tendonitis in both arms at around 15 yrs old from picking working on a farm. I suffered for many, many years. I couldn't write, play piano, tennis and craft. All the things I loved. It never went away but by not doing anything for over 6 months, I was able to reduce the effects and get back to some normality. However a few years later after marrying a dairy farmer, I continued farming, milking, carrying grain bags, irrigation pipes and all types of physical work. I was diagnosed with SLE and began treatment.

I returned a few years later to the specialist in more pain than I had been for a long time. TheSLE was in remission but she found Haemochromatosis and Fibromyalgia.Treatment still continues for both to this day. I have monthly venesections and live on pain meds, 15 mg Norspan plus maybe once a week 30mg Panadeine forte. I have not worked at all for 13 years and have had carers to clean and mow.

I asked my Doctor to increase the Norspan or add something else so I could get to sleep, pain was stopping me. He asked if I would do Jan’s Neuroplastic Transformation course and I agreed. It has changed my life so much. I am now working on reducing pain meds for the first time in over 4 years. I am doing all my own housework, cooking, gardening and really enjoying craft again. I have also begun to exercise daily!

After almost 24 years of decreasing physical ability and increasing pain I cannot believe that I have been able to retrain my brain to understand my pain as it should be. Acute pain... requires action, chronic pain requires acknowledgement and understanding so that it can then be dealt with.

This process is wonderful I want to share it with everyone I know who suffers chronic pain. I can now do my own housework, gardening and get to sleep!

54 year old Bill suffers from arthritis throughout his body as well as a number of other chronic health conditions which were getting him down. He could no longer work in his job because of pain in his arms and fingers. He said:

The Program was very helpful. It worked great for me. Being in a group session made a difference from hearing about others' issues and ideas as well. The Program was very in-depth and covered a lot of information that's been so beneficial.

It will change your life and in the long run save on your healthcare.

52 year old Ted suffered from chronic back pain and wanted to wean off opiates. He had a car accident as a young man in which his jaw was broken and had many operations since. He also had spina bifida and at 25 could not walk - his treatment included spinal fusion. He also had various other serious health problems. This is what he said:

The course has been very beneficial for me, having learnt new methods to be able to cope. I have had spinal fusions and laminectomy and have been on strong pain medications since going to the RBH Pain Clinic in 2004. I used to be on 60 mg MS Contin (56 per 4 weeks) plus Panadeine Forte (9 boxes - 2 repeats every 2 months).

Now that has been reduced so far to 1 box of 28 MS Contin per 4 weeks and 4 boxes of 20 Panadeine Forte.

I hope to be able to utilize the skills learnt further in the future to become pain medication free.

58 year old Mary has spinal scoliosis and had rods inserted in her back as a child. She is on opioid medications which she tries to keep at the lowest level to minimize damage to her organs. She has had a lot of physiotherapy, and is very active in trying things to help improve her situation. She said:

I have spinal pain from surgery - operations to insert metal rods, fusions etc and to repair fractures in my pelvis. I suffer from osteo arthritis. The Program has been very informative, with loads of new techniques. The group is very supportive and this breaks down social isolation. It has been inspiring to hear how the brain works and ways to transform pain. The course gave me:

  • hope
  • empowerment
  • connection
  • a sense of bringing control back to me
  • great education in so many areas.

My health, pain and mental states have all improved tremendously. So many techniques have changed my life for the better. Thank you so much for this wonderful course.

67 year old Rosemary has suffered back pain for years after breaking hercoccyx as a child and later workplace injuries. She has had spinal fusion and her medications were Tagin and Panadeine Forte. She said:

The knowledge Jan has been able to share with us has helped to develop good strategies to overcome and manage the pain I have been suffering for 20+ years.

The ideas and exercises I have learnt here have given me life-long support to be able to reduce not only the pain level, but enabling me to reduce pain medications which has been my main aim.

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The Centre for Healthy Living is a place where allied health professionals provide help and service as independent private practitioners. The Centre does not provide emergency or acute mental health services. People in need of these services should contact their GP or the Mental Health Unit at the Warwick Base Hospital.

Contact us

The Centre for Healthy Living
14 Freestone Road, Warwick

Phone: 617 4661 3340
Fax: 617 4667 1333