Beverly Reidy shares with us a letter she wrote to Dr Cook after having attended a workshop with Chai, our Health Promoter here at the Cambridge Food Bank.

“Dear Dr. Cook,

 I am writing to tell you all that I have accomplished using the textbook Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Pain and the Toolkit for Active Living With Chronic Pain. I am very impressed with the course, especially since it is using a self-directed approach. The course isn’t just laid out for you to follow along in the textbook but it is directed through our weekly Zoom sessions. We do follow topics but we get in depth on topics that are discussed online and we focus on what is important to the group members. I enjoyed learning about tracking my pain and how to measure my pain but above all I felt it was important to develop the weekly action plan as it guided my routine and was based on my goals for the week. It not only taught you to set goals but to set SMART goals that were action oriented. Our leader Chai, who is very excellent at teaching the course, taught us to evaluate how confident we were that we could achieve our goals. If our confidence level was low then we needed to reset our goal or discuss what was holding us back.

We learned about healthy eating and the importance of weight management in controlling our pain. I found that reading the label of packaged foods was key to understanding a food and we learned how those percents on packages related to our daily intake.

We also learned about managing our symptoms through (Lefort, et al, 45):

·      Redirecting my attention to control pain

·      Challenging negative thoughts that support pain

·      Cultivating more positive emotions

·      Developing relaxation techniques

·      Slowly increasing activity and reconditioning yourself

·      Learning pacing techniques

I thought that I understood all of these things but I learned the importance of keeping a pain diary. I also understand that even if pain sensations cannot be changed then I can change my reaction and responses to pain. This will help me experience a lessened sensation of pain and less anxiety yet help me to lead a more active life.

One of the most important aspects of this course was the inclusion of the CDs. I use the body scan CD to relax my whole body and would like to incorporate this daily. I was also surprised that the exercise CD was doable for anyone in any condition. Both CDs connected to the text and were written in words to follow and the exercises were demonstrated in pictures. Both were very thorough and well presented. Throughout the weeks of the course we practiced each body scan and the exercises together!

I know that I always can learn more about pain management and have signed up for another course to build on what I have learned. I will also continue to incorporate what I have learned, start a pain diary, and work to manage my symptoms from what the knowledge that I have gained.

 I would recommend this course to all your patients suffering from chronic pain. I cannot put into words how much this course has meant to me. Not only from being tailored to my own specific needs, the excellent techniques but also for the social aspect and comradery experienced in this learning journey.

 Thank you Dr. Cook, for recommending this course to me!

Beverly Reidy” 

Lefort, Sandra M., et al. Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Pain. Bull Publishing Company: Boulder, Colorado. 2015.

 Your Tool Kit ForActive Living With Chronic Pain. Bull Publishing Company and the Self-Management Resource Center. 2020.

If you’d like to learn more about the free programs available from the Cambridge Food Bank, contact Chai at 519-572-9359 or email cmaybhate@cambridgefoodbank.org.

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