Structure House Weight Management Facility Debuts New Program for Chronic Pain Patients

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Structure House recently added a specialized pain management program for clients whose weight loss progress is undermined by chronic suffering.

We teach people how to become aware of the ways in which they hold tension in their bodies

The nation's premiere residential weight loss program is proud to announce the debut of a new program component that is already helping overweight individuals live healthier and happier lives.

Now in its fourth decade of providing innovative and highly effective services to those who are struggling to shed excess weight, Structure House recently added a specialized pain management program for clients whose weight loss progress is undermined by chronic suffering.

"Chronic pain leads people into a vicious cycle," said Structure House psychologist Katie Rickel, Ph.D. who developed and now oversees the chronic pain program. "This new program gives clients a number of skills and strategies for identifying and relieving pain before it becomes debilitating."

The program, which teaches empirically validated techniques that were developed by leading experts in the field, is designed to develop pain management practices that clients will be able to incorporate into their daily lives.

Alleviating Stress, Relieving Pain

The Structure House pain program consists of four one-on-one sessions that are conducted over the course of the participant's stay. During these sessions, participants learn behavioral strategies that help reduce the physiological arousal that can exacerbate chronic pain.

The program begins with a discussion about the nature of pain and an exploration of participants' pain history, then progresses through a series of exercises and techniques that help participating individuals exert greater influence over their personal sense of well-being.

"We teach people how to become aware of the ways in which they hold tension in their bodies," Rickel said, referring to the progressive muscle relaxation techniques that are learned during the initial session. "Pain is exacerbated when the body is in stress. We help our clients to alleviate that stress physiologically and, as a result, reduce their pain."

The first session also includes instruction on how to keep a "pain diary," an endeavor that both helps clients recognize potential precursors to pain and re-focuses their attention on one of Structure House's core principles. "Here at Structure House we recognize that self-monitoring - of eating, exercise, emotions, and in this program, the pain experience - is an important part of any kind of lifestyle change," Rickel said.

Empowered and Enabled

As the patients progress through the following three sessions, they practice more advanced pain-reduction and tension-release techniques, and develop relapse-prevention strategies that will support their efforts to better manage their pain after they have completed their stay at Structure House.

The advanced skills and relapse-prevention techniques that Rickel practices with pain patients include autogenic relaxation, elementary biofeedback techniques, and visualization exercises.

"Developing a visual image of your pain helps you to relieve it," Rickel said. "For example, if the client 'sees' his pain as a flashing red light, we work on using visualization to turn that light to a more soothing color, dim its intensity, or slow the rate of flashing."

As they learn how to incorporate their newly developed skills into their everyday lives, Structure House's chronic pain patients are able to apply the techniques in a manner that is best suited to their unique strengths and challenges.

"As they become experts at recognizing tension and relaxation, they realize that they're mastering a highly portable technique that will allow them to address pain before it gets to the point that they need medication," Rickel said. "The chronic pain program is a deeply empowering effort that offers tremendous benefits to our clients."

About Structure House

Founded by Dr. Gerard J. Musante, Structure House integrates the principles of nutrition, exercise, and psychology into a time-tested treatment approach that is designed to transform the eating habits and lifestyles of overweight individuals. As they learn to incorporate structure into their daily lives and apply newfound strategies into their interactions with the world around them, Structure House clients begin to realize their potential as students of positive, lasting change.

Since 1977, Structure House has helped more than 30,000 people from all 50 states and 35 nations battling obesity. The program has been featured in a wide range of media outlets, including The Today Show, The New York Times, 60 Minutes, Glamour magazine, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, FOX & Friends, and USA TODAY.

Structure House is a proud member of CRC Health Group, which offers the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral healthcare services in the nation. With the largest array of personalized treatment options, individuals, families, and professionals can choose the most appropriate setting for their behavioral, addiction, weight management, and therapeutic education needs. CRC Health Group is deeply committed to making its services widely and easily available to those in need, while maintaining a passion for delivering the most advanced treatment available.

For more information about Structure House, call (800) 553-0052 or visit For more information about CRC Health Group, call (877) 637-6237 or visit

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Anna Stout

CRC Health Group
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