About the program
Why the program matters
As stated in a National Institute of Health newsletter, “Chronic Pain is a major public health burden in the United States. It is the leading cause of work-related disability and missed days off work, and the fifth most common reason for physician visits. It is well documented that Chronic Pain accounts for a majority of medical costs, placing an enormous burden on the health care system and society. Low back pain is one of the most common reasons patients seek complementary and alternative medical care.”
How it works
High risk patients are identified through claims with chronic pain and referred to the Foundation for an 8-week program. The Foundation of Complex Healthcare Solutions works with Shamrock Wellness as a Collaborator for this program. Members are sent a letter and a phone call is made to enroll them in the Healthy Balance Program. This program consists of 16 sessions (2 sessions per week for 8 weeks). Each visit will consist of a 30-minute yoga therapy and 30-minute massage therapy session with the first and last visits to include a 30-minute physician visit. Techniques of meditation and breathing are instructed.
The Healthy Balance Program is an integrated and individualized yoga therapy and massage therapy program encompassing a medical doctor, licensed massage therapist, and certified yoga therapist for people suffering from chronic pain. Its goal is to realize the strength, flexibility, and coordination needed to obtain proper postural alignment, enhanced flexibility, reduced pain and improved quality and productivity of life.
The provider will qualify the patients and capture objective measures at the beginning and end of the program. The first yoga therapy session includes a program overview and chronic pain education presentation. Each session afterwards will include a breathing practice for increased oxygen, a concentration practice for body awareness and mindfulness, and appropriate exercises to establish functional strength and flexibility. The massage therapy session will isolate and treat specific muscles that affect the areas of pain, releasing constriction in the muscle tissue to improve blood flow and release pain.
Typical benefits realized from the Healthy Balance Program include reduced/eliminated pain and pain medications, increased mind/body coordination and awareness, and experiential knowledge of breathing and physical exercises.
The Healthy Balance Program is helping people to realize reduced/eliminated lower back pain and higher quality of life through integrating the modalities of massage therapy, yoga therapy, and meditation and breathing techniques.
Program Results Overview
The Foundation worked with Shamrock Wellness, Inc. to study a chronic lower back pain program that Shamrock had developed. A medical and Rx claims analysis and an initial SF-36 survey tool was completed at the onset of the program to set the baseline for participant cost, overall physical health, and overall emotional health. Participants were enrolled in Shamrock’s 16-session program (2 sessions over 8 weeks) that included provider visits, massage therapy, yoga therapy, nutrition education, and meditation coaching. A follow up SF-36 survey was given after immediately after graduation of the program, and medical and Rx claims were reassessed 12 months after graduation. The following results show the improvements in costs, physical health, and emotional health from the analysis.
Physical and Emotional Health Results
Domains of SF-36 with an asterisk (*) showed statistically significant improvements. Participants had significantly higher scores upon completion of the program in all domains of the SF-36, except the “role limitations of physical health” and “role limitations of emotional health” domains (scores in these 2 domains were higher upon completion of the program, as evidenced above, but the difference was not statistically significant). Overall, participants significantly improved their SF-36 scores in the physical and emotional component domains (I & J).
Data was compared to general normative population data (orange). Post-program scores were higher than baseline and closer to general population scores. SF-36 general population data comes from: Ware, J., Kosinski, M., & Keller, S. (1994). SF-36 physical and mental health summary scales: A user’s manual. Boston: The Health Institute, New England Medial Centre.