Fremont Therapy Group is proud to announce Doctor of Physical Therapy, Justin Willis, recently earned the esteemed Therapeutic Pain Specialist certification (TPS) through Evidence in Motion and International Spine & Pain Institute with Purdue University.TPS is the highest clinical competency of evaluation and treatment of pain that a practitioner can earn.
Justin uses these valuable skills to help patients conquer pain through Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE) and therapeutic strategies to take control of their discomfort.
Why Pain Neuroscience Education?
Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from chronic pain that interferes with their daily activities, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC reviewed the National Health Interview Survey and found that 1 in 5 Americans, or about 50 million people, suffer from chronic pain. Of those, 8%, or about 19.6 million, suffer from pain that interferes with their daily lives and this chronic pain is the primary reason Americans are on disability.
Pain is an epidemic and a historically misunderstood and mistreated condition. The goal of pain neuroscience education is to reduce unnecessary suffering and educate patients how they can take back control of their body and manage their pain.
Justin explains, "Once an individual understands why they have pain, it becomes easier to zero in on what is perpetuating their pain. We can use this knowledge to address pain through a holistic approach to improve function and decrease suffering."
What inspired you to expand your treatment knowledge to Pain?
As I looked around health care, I realized that one of the biggest problems facing people is chronic pain. I decided that this was an area where I could help. Persistent pain leads to immense suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can ruin relationships, end careers, and no matter the circumstances it completely changes someone’s life. On top of that, it is pretty obvious that the opioid epidemic in the country is a direct result of a pain problem. As I contemplated all of these problems I became very passionate about helping this underserved population. Treating people with persistent pain is extremely difficult, but even more rewarding.
How has this advanced TPS Certification changed the way you treat patients?
TPS has drastically changed the way I treat patients. My main focus on all patients is now how can I help that person gain control of their life to help make their situation better.
Whether I am treating a patient who is experiencing chronic pain or not, I now take more time to educate the patient and to make sure I can answer their questions. This certification has made me more empathetic and helped me to understand how to treat the whole person, not just a body part. It has helped me to slow down and really contemplate how I can help each patient individually. TPS has also given me some new evaluation tools which help me to be even better at evaluating people.
What has been the response from patients?
Most patients have reacted in a very positive manner. Obviously, like any other treatment, PNE+ is not for everyone. That is why it is so important that I take the time to learn about each patient so we, me AND the patient, are both comfortable with our treatment plan. I have found that most patients, even those who would not have a condition that would be labeled as “chronic pain”, are interested in learning the neuroscience behind pain and then working out solutions that can help improve function and decrease suffering.
I have many patients who now understand that pain is not the ultimate enemy. Chronic pain does not mean that their body is falling apart or that they can never do the things that they enjoy again.