Milwaukee-based Advocate Launches Proactive, Results-Based Support Group Format for Chronic Pain Sufferers

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Hope Against Pain uses stages-based approach to group therapy for people living with chronic pain

Hope Against Pain, bringing results-oriented help to chronic pain sufferers

“We need a new approach to address this underserved population. Hope Against Pain isn’t just about talking and surviving. Rather, it’s about providing tasks to complete, and thereby create accountability. This is about recapturing your life."

For sufferers of chronic pain, new “hope” has arrived - literally and figuratively - via a new action-oriented support group, Hope Against Pain.

The Milwaukee-based organization, launched by Hope Instilled founder Jory Pradjinski, employs a results-oriented format to address the quiet epidemic of people who live with endless, disabling pain. Beyond the hundreds of billions of dollars in lost economic productivity, chronic pain carries a tremendous human cost in depression, isolation and lives lost.

Hope Against Pain launches amid the well-publicized opioid crisis, as tens of thousands nationwide struggle with addiction to opioids they first took for pain relief.

“We need a new approach to address this underserved population,” said Pradjinski, whose battle with chronic pain has endured three decades and several near-suicides. “Hope Against Pain isn’t just about talking and surviving. Rather, it’s about providing tasks to complete, and thereby create accountability. This is about recapturing your life.”

A pilot Hope Against Pain program launched in December in the Milwaukee area, and will soon expand to other locations. Pradjinski envisions the program spreading quickly to other states, and eventually across the world.

“Everyone has the ability to change their lives. What they need to make that happen is to be surrounded by people who know firsthand what they are experiencing, and to be equipped with the necessary tools,” he said.

Pradjinski launched a consumer-driven web platform, HopeInstilled.org, in 2017. Hope Instilled has a Facebook page and active Facebook support group with worldwide reach, where people can share stories and draw support regardless of where they live. Its outreach extends via Twitter, too.

Hope Against Pain is unlike other support groups where people share feelings and develop friendships. Hope Against Pain uses a format and approach inspired by, but not mimicking, various “12 Step” groups that lead members to partake in activities to recover from addictions.

Hope Against Pain employs 10 sequential “stages,” through which a member is led by a volunteer “guide.” The format resembles the familiar sponsor concept.

“I survived decades of chronic pain suffering without any formalized peer to peer support group,” Pradjinski said. “I had therapists, but none had ever walked in my shoes.”

Hope Against Pain will feel familiar to those who have been in the rooms of recovery, yet is custom designed to address the needs of pain sufferers. Its “10 Stages of Hope Against Pain” center on terms such as “acknowledge,” “grieve,” “stand up” and “educate.”

“Addiction and pain suffering share some characteristics, but are inherently different,” Pradjinski said. “Our program recognizes those differences. We copied nothing. We agreed that action and accountability are good ideas used in other programs, and applied those concepts to ours.”

Pradjinski’s personal long, painful journey began in 1987 with a back injury that led to fusion surgery. Three unsuccessful fusions followed. Pain kept worsening after the last fusion, eventually leading to Complex PTSD, depression and anxiety for Pradjinski.

Today, Pradjinski lives with more than 26 traumas since the original injury. Beginning in 2013, after a fall dislodged his L4 vertebra, he sought alternative treatments and found several that provided relief. Although he continues to live with chronic pain, Pradjinski is able to function better than medically explainable.

Hope Instilled was the first step in Pradjinski’s mission to save other chronic pain sufferers. The launch of HopeInstilled.org followed. Hope Against Pain is the newest, hands-on iteration.

“Hope Against Pain is the natural complementary vehicle for Hope Instilled,” Pradjinski said. “Our online information and interactions should provide people with the desire and willingness to better engage in their own improvement. Hope Against Pain gives them that next step.”

The Hope Instilled web site will be significantly enhanced in 2018. The organization’s YouTube channel has additional resources.

“We have big plans to become the premier, client-driven, retail-level resource for chronic pain sufferers throughout the world,” Pradjinski said. “We will eventually bring Hope Against Pain meetings into people’s homes through interactive webcasts. We will change the way the world views, manages and overcomes pain.”

Hope Against Pain meetings (non-religious based) are held the second and fourth Tuesdays each month, from 6 to 7 p.m., at North Shore Presbyterian Church, 4048 N Bartlett Ave, Shorewood, Wis. Participants should enter at the south door. All are free and open to the public.

“We will launch new meeting locations in the greater Milwaukee area within the next 60 days,” Pradjinski said. “I believe the program will grow quickly as word spreads. This is my calling. Everything I’ve been through has brought me here.”

“Hope Against Pain will be of the same magnitude, and have the same positive impact, as Alcoholics Anonymous. Similar to AA, we plan to save and improve lives for a long, long time.”

More information is available by e-mailing AskJory@HopeInstilled.org.

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Jory Pradjinski
@HopeInstilled
since: 05/2016
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