Opioid overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US. Most of those who are addicted or dying started out taking these medications for chronic pain. Yet although chronic pain is the #1 reason people see a doctor and the #1 reason people are out of work, our treatment outcomes are abysmal, and alternatives to opioids are not readily available or covered by insurance. So the cycle continues, with no end in sight.
Dr. Tracy Jackson is a pain management specialist at Vanderbilt who has recently gone part-time to devote her energy to developing solutions that actually work. To that end, she has founded Relief Retreats, a new way to effectively manage chronic pain and combat our opioid epidemic. Relief Retreats uses an approach called functional rehabilitation, which has been shown time and again to improve pain, sleep, mood, and function while getting people back to work – and helping people get off their opioids for good. In these programs, a whole team of experts who understand chronic pain (including psychologists, movement therapists, doctors, nurses, and nutritionists) treat patients for two weeks under one roof, and then provide weekly web-based follow-up for six months to ensure patients get better and stay better. Every shred of science proves these programs work, yet they are not covered by traditional insurance and are only available to those who are injured on the job in certain states…or who are rich. There are currently no programs like this anywhere in the South, so Dr. Jackson is creating them. She will research the outcomes and take the data to insurers to get these holistic programs available to all of us.
Relief Retreats is raising money to fund scholarships for 15 patients to attend the first retreat, March 14-27 at Gray Bear Lodge in Hohenwald, TN. This is part of a big vision - to expand these programs throughout the US - with huge possibility to effect real change in our health care system and prevent future deaths from opioids. Dr. Jackson is donating her time, but needs to pay the other experts, cover the food and lodging for the two week program, and fund six months of telemedicine coaching for the participants thereafter. Many with chronic pain cannot work and insurance will not cover the cost. So every dollar counts!
More information can be found on the website at www.reliefretreats.com or on the FB page https://www.facebook.com/reliefretreats/?fref=ts
Dr. Jackson also recently did a TEDxNashville talk – with over 7000 views in the first month - detailing why our system is broken, and how these programs can be the fix. Her work has also been featured on local NBC and CBS affiliates, and on Focus with Anna Marie on Mix 92.9. The links are below. Thank you so much for your support. You will be saving lives, and giving people with chronic pain their lives back.
…/…/morningline-opioid-addiction Tracy Jackson