The 12 sessions provide those who take the course with training and practice in behavioral strategies for dealing with pain.
Topics range from the basics of pain, and the medications that address it, to the consequences of long-term opioid use.
The course sets the stage for the pain management strategies it offers by explaining how pain works in the brain.
At the heart of the instruction is information about what pain specialists call behavioral interventions, including cognitive-behavioral strategies and acceptance and commitment therapy. The course also explores alternative pain-management treatments such as acupuncture and biofeedback.
“Our society has fallen victim to the notion that chronic pain can only be effectively managed through the heavy prescription of opioids alone, but this dangerous perception of pain-killers is fueling addiction rates and strengthening the opioid crisis as a whole,” Sherry Benton, TAO Connect’s founder and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Knowing how to manage chronic pain through behavioral health treatment is incredibly important, which is why we made it easily accessible to everyone who needs it.”
Estimates are that chronic pain, which is defined as pain lasting more than three months, accounts for 80 percent of visits to doctors, TAO Connect said. It can be caused by diseases like fibromyalgia, but the situation is more complex than that. It involves changes in the brain that can also alter a person’s psychological landscape.
Opioids lower the number of pain signals the body sends to the brain, which means they also change how the brain responds to pain. This can cause addiction and other problems.
Symptoms of opioid abuse include poor coordination, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, slurred speech, poor decision-making, mood swings, euphoria, irritability, depression, decreased motivation and anxiety attacks.
Behavioral approaches to managing chronic pain can reduce it and improve a person’s functioning and satisfaction with life, research has shown.
The course will be available by subscription for $25 a month or $250 a year. Students at participating universities, those who enroll in the course on their own, and patients who want to take the course in synch with a therapist will have unlimited access to all the educational tools in the program. They include daily logs, exercise tools and practice tools.
Before signing up, you can request a demo here.