THE SYSTEMS LIMITATION APPROACH TO PAIN (S.L.A.P.)

Introducing a unique approach to pain management.
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Cathy has developed a tool set to help others learn the System Limitations Approach to Pain (S.L.A.P.), which identifies the missing factors of chronic pain and creates the road map to recovery.

Experience

Cathy is a Physical Therapist and Consultant of 30+ years, specializing in chronic pain management and cost reduction.

Expertise

She helps people learn how through a physical therapist’s active listening and deep understanding of the body’s mechanics it is possible to identify what’s been missing.”

Introduction to S.L.A.P

These 6 video’s familiarize you with SLAP through brief demonstrations of key parts.

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Cathy’s Focus

EVALUATION

1. Note positions that increase pain

Prior to the evaluation Cathy has the patient list every pain they have and use that list to track their pain. When the patient shares this information during the evaluation Cathy notes the positions/activities that they are in when each pain increases. Her initial focus is on whether they are bending (sitting, reaching down etc) or straight (standing, walking etc) when the pain increases. (See Pain Tracking Form)

2. Take measurements

Take measurements to find out if there are limitations in the range of motion needed to do the
activities/positions that increase the pain. (Measurements are demonstrated in the PT Measurements Video)

3. Compare steps 1 & 2

Compare steps 1 and 2 to determine if the back pain could be the result of force placed on the back
because of a lack of range of motion that is needed to do the activities/positions that increase the pain.

TREATMENT

1. Patient Education

Educate the patient about the findings in the evaluation, particularly how the loss of range of motion specifically places force on the back during the activities/positions that increase the pain..

2. Develop monitors - What they are

A monitor is a measurable description of the pain. (page 85 in the book Rescue Your Back)

3. Develop Monitors - Why

Each pain and position should have a monitor. Monitors help the patient learn how their pain is specifically impacted by daily activities, hopefully providing them with more understanding and control over their pain. Monitors also help the PT more efficiently identify the body’s response to exercises and activities. This helps when developing a program for the long run.

“When I realized the significance of the information that pain provides and the relationship to specific loss of mechanics and specific position/activity that is painful, I felt compelled to get this information out in a manner that is helpful. This can help.”

– Cathy Mahon, PT, MS

Cathy’s Focus

EVALUATION

  • 1. Note positions that increase pain

    Prior to the evaluation, Cathy has the patient write down every pain they have. As the person tells their story Cathy notes the position/activity they are in when each pain increases. Initially Cathy focuses on whether they are bending (sitting, reaching down) or straight (standing, walking).

  • 2. Take Measurements

    Then, take measurements to find out if they have limitations in the range of motion needed to do the activity/position that increases the pain.

  • 3. Determine if the back is compensating

    Finally, determine if the back is compensating for the limitations when doing the activity/position that increases the pain? Sometimes this is straight forward. More often this takes time and requires detective work.
    (Help can be found on pages 95-122 in the book Rescue Your Back)

TREATMENT

  • 1. Patient Education

    The patient is the 24/7 manager of their body, they need to understand how the loss of range of motion specifically impacts their back and causes/contributes to their back pain.

    Educate the patient in the findings above and what is learned from the monitors.

  • 2. Develop monitors - What they are

    A monitor is a measurable description of the pain. (page 85 in the book Rescue Your Back)

    For example:  “I can count on being able to stand pain free for 10 minutes, then the left low back pain is a 3/10. On the weekends I can count of standing for 25 minutes, then the left low back pain is a 3/10.”

  • 3. Develop Monitors - How

    Each pain and position should have a monitor as they help in many ways including:

    The patient much more effectively learns how their daily activities increase and decrease their pain.
    The PT can track what specifically increases and decreases the pain, including exercises and daily activities. This helps the PT more efficiently learn what is happening mechanically in order to develop an effective program for the long term. Learn how to develop a monitor using the Pain Tracking Form.

“When I realized the significance of the information that pain provides and the relationship to specific loss of mechanics and specific position/activity that is painful, I felt compelled to get this information out in a manner that is helpful. This can help.”

– Cathy Mahon, PT, MS

Get The Help & Resources You Need

Impact your knowledge of chronic pain in order to help improve pain management and lower the collective costs of chronic pain for your group, your patients, yourself.

“I want to help the millions of people behind the alarming chronic pain statistics. I’ve witnessed the horrible effects of chronic pain on a daily basis with my patients.”

– Cathy Mahon, PT, MS

38%

of people wordwide

are estimated to be affected by low back pain each year.

2014 NIH Task Force

3rd most burdensome condition:

Low back pain

in the US, in 2010, in terms of mortality or poor health. Third only to ischemic heart disease and COPD.

NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Low Back Pain Fact Sheet

$635 billion

100 million adults in the US

are the estimated numbers for cost and people affected by chronic pain annually.

2014 NIH Task Force

COVID-19 Pandemic

If your surgery or therapy for your pain has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are resources available to you on this website that may help in the interim.

Learn More

Struggling with back pain?
Introducing a unique approach to pain management

SYSTEM LIMITATIONS APPROACH TO PAIN (S.L.A.P.)

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