Episode 3 of ADJUSTED, a claims podcast, features Becky Curtis of Take Courage Coaching. In this episode, co-hosts Greg Hamlin and Claire Muselman discuss chronic pain, methods for recovery, and more.

Becky Curtis is an Associate Certified Coach and Professional Speaker, specializing in coaching for those in chronic pain. In her coaching practice, she partners with individual clients to develop measurable goals, create strategies, and stay in action to achieve these goals. When asked what qualifies her to coach people with chronic pain, she often replies, “I have it.”

Overwhelmed by burning nerve pain following a spinal cord injury that left her an incomplete quadriplegic in 2005, Becky discovered that the secret to managing pain was only a secret because an effective system for implementing patient compliance to evidence-based modalities had yet to be discovered. Knowing from personal experience that coaching was the best approach to moving people forward, she founded Take Courage Coaching® to provide this much-needed service to those with chronic pain.

To extend her coaching reach, Becky has assembled a vibrant team of specially-trained coaches—healthcare professionals who have gained proficiency in teaching and coaching, many of who live successfully with chronic pain. Becky travels extensively to speak about the role of coaching in pain management and has been a regular speaker at PAINWeek®, in addition to coaching and managing TCC’s program.  She lives in Utah with her husband and dog, Quigley.

Chronic Pain Coaching

Pain Coaching: What it is and what it is not.

Pain Coaching is not psychological treatment. It does not provide a diagnosis. It is not counseling. Instead, Pain Coaching is a discipline focused on walking beside the patient, assisting in added support to help during the process as a partnership. Pain Coaching provides patients with tools to focus on their strengths and solutions rather than their weaknesses and barriers.

Focus on what is going well. 

Patients suffering from chronic pain are frequently asked questions direction their focus to pain. Questions such as, “What is your pain on a scale of 1 to 10?” are commonly asked of these patients. Pain Coaching shifts the script into other aspects of their lives. What went well this week? Pain Coaching focuses on what can be empowered and enlarged to shift the mental space of the patient. When learning new things in life, the more we focus on the task at hand, the easier it becomes. For example, if you are learning to drive a car, the more you focus on driving and practice, the easier driving becomes. Pain works the same way. Helping those with chronic pain focus on what is going well rewires the brain to evoke empowering emotions and enlarges their mindset to see what is working in their lives to help plan for future success.

Tools for Success.

Pain processes in the brain and there are many ways to manage how one experiences pain. One tool to manage pain is learning how to breathe from the diaphragm. Breaking from the diaphragm can help send signals to the brain that everything is okay. This tool can be enhanced by coupling breathing with meditation. Another means is finding ways to stay active. Staying active can assist with sleep, which can be difficult for those struggling with chronic pain as activity tires the body to encourage sleep for therapeutic, healing purposes.

Do it WITH You Model.

The medical treatment system in the United States is built on a Do it FOR You Model. Surgeons, hospitals, physical therapists, and prescription medications provide solutions to Do It FOR You, leaving a patient to rely on someone or something to fix their issues. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a Do it Yourself Model, which leaves the patient alone in the process. Many people struggling with chronic pain cannot easily transition from a Do It FOR You Model to a Do It Yourself Model. Pain coaching provides an alternative model of Do It WITH You. Having someone who can assist a patient in their success can be the missing link between the Do It FOR You Model and the Do It Yourself Model. Coaching provides tools and strategies to help chronic pain patients escape the grip of pain and shed light on successful avenues of relief.

From the Sound Booth

With each episode recap, you can find exclusive bits of fun in this portion of the blog, From the Sound Booth. These golden nuggets come from the recording studio of ADJUSTED and help listeners get to know our co-hosts, hosts, and the Berkley teams a bit more along the way…