Beyond Pain STL

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Taking control of chronic pain

Beyond Pain STL offers resources, tools, and information about chronic pain for medical providers and people with chronic pain. The website is an initiative of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission.


What is chronic pain?

There are different kinds of pain: acute pain and chronic pain. For acute pain, like a broken bone, the pain can serve as a helpful alert to seek help. However, when the pain lasts beyond its normal point of healing and no longer serves a purpose, it is considered chronic pain.

Chronic pain is often invisible; yet research shows that 1 in 5 people have it. Chronic pain keeps people from going to work and doing other things they need to do. One study shows that this is costing our national economy about 600 billion dollars every year.

There are many strategies to help people with chronic pain, but it is important for people to see a doctor to learn more about their pain.  While many types of chronic pain exist, such as chronic pain from lupus or sickle cell disease, this website focuses on musculoskeletal chronic pain (long-lasting pain in muscles, bones, and nerves). Watch the video to learn more about chronic pain. 

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Information and tools for you

Chronic pain can be stressful, confusing, and depressing. But you are not alone.

There are things you can do to help with chronic pain - whether you have chronic pain yourself, are supporting a friend or loved one, or are caring for patients with chronic pain. Learn more by clicking the links below.

For patients

Learn strategies to lessen the impact and intensity of chronic pain.

For medical providers

Help your patients with chronic pain set realistic expectations and goals.

For advocates

Whether you are someone with chronic pain, a medical provider, caregiver, or community member, you can help people with chronic pain through advocacy. 

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Chronic pain initiative

The chronic pain initiative is a program of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission (RHC). 

Chronic pain is a public health crisis in the St. Louis region. In 2018, the RHC launched a chronic pain initiative to accomplish 2 main goals: decrease the progression of acute pain to chronic pain, and improve the treatment of chronic pain in our region. The chronic pain initiative aims to accomplish these objectives with 3 main strategies, which are outlined below with examples of the work.  


Policy reform

  1. The RHC drafted a policy paper with regional and statewide recommendations on chronic pain management, based on national strategies, 200 peer-reviewed articles, and 35 stakeholder interviews. Read the Chronic Pain Prevention and Treatment Policy Paper.

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Clinical improvement

  1. Gateway to Better Health (GBH), a coverage model run by the RHC, added a new benefit in January 2021. This benefit covers the integration of new physical function services (physical therapy, chiropractic, occupational therapy) into community health centers.

  2. In early 2020, a new specialty care triage referral process was implemented to expand access and decrease wait times for GBH patients needing pain services.

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Education for providers and patients

  1. The RHC launched an educational campaign, in collaboration with Alive and Well Communities, for Missouri providers and patients to recognize the role of trauma and emotional pain.

  2. Online materials offer opportunities for patients and providers to learn more about chronic pain management and prevention. Check out the RHC's Chronic Pain Workbook, which offers education and tools about chronic pain. Read about chronic pain in the media.