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Pain Patient Advocacy | Improve Pain Patient Outcomes | Living Well Coaching

Improve your pain patients’ outcomes

Chronic pain is the top reason people seek clinical care and can lead to disability, addiction and loss of productivity. A 2012 study reports the annual cost of pain was up to twice the annual costs of the primary health conditions—heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. (Gaskin & Richard, 2012) Patients who develop strategies to upgrade their self-management and implement your guidance can improve outcomes.

You may be like many other clinicians who report:

  • Patients who seek a better quality of life despite their efforts and treatments to reduce their pain.

  • Patients who are unable to balance the demands in their life to consistently implement your recommendations and the behavioral changes long enough to get long-term results.

  • Time constraints to educate and support patients around the details of the many lifestyle contributors to pain.


Gaskin DJ, Richard P. The economic costs of pain in the United States. J Pain. 2012 Aug;13(8):715-24. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2012.03.009. Epub 2012 May 16. PMID: 22607834.

Pain Patient Advocacy at Living Well Coaching

  • Provide education around active approaches to chronic pain symptoms based on up-to-date pain neuroscience to reinforce and complement your treatment.

  • Deliver patient-centered self-management strategies to address lifestyle factors that are contributors to pain to improve long-term outcomes.

  • Meet each individual where they are in their stage of change with strategies personalized to their individual situation and priorities.

  • Get to the root of what’s important to your patients to tap into their motivation and to create achievable steps toward increase productivity and well-being.

  • Use a HIPAA-compliant system to record change over time, and with patient buy-in, share progress and concerns with you.

  • Use assessments to identify risk and protective factors. Draw from tools of behavior change including Motivational Interviewing, Appreciative Inquiry, Strengths, and Positive Psychology to facilitate shifts that will allow patients to live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

  • Focus on the positive “protective factors” such as improving sleep, increasing activity and exercise, improving healthy nutrition and social support.

  • People are unique and my coaching program is tailored to address the factors that affect their activities of daily living, social well-being, and recreational activities.

“Yesterday I saw a whole day of patients. At least half of them are engaged in health coaching and they just love our health coaches and they said, this is so helpful, thank you for introducing me. And it makes me feel good as the provider and to refer them and to work as a team and it’s a really exciting process.”
—James Fricton, DDS, MS, Pain specialist clinician and researcher at the University of Minnesota and Health Partners Institute Minnesota Head & Neck Pain Clinic

Why Living Well Coaching?

  • I'm Susanne Murtha, founder of Living Well Coaching. I have 7 years of experience as part of care teams working with patients to manage their chronic pain. I've witnessed how empowering and motivating people to focus what they can do allows them to live more fulfilling lives and has a ripple effect with their family and community.

  • As a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach trained by Wellcoaches, the Pain Coach Academy’s Pain Management certification program, and in Health Promotion at SUNY Empire State College, I value evidence-based approaches and protocols.

  • With persistent pain, the nervous system can become increasingly hypervigilant. My 26 years of experience and over 3500 hours of training in yoga and meditation set up a solid foundation for me to provide a safe space for patients, and when appropriate, supplement the Western approaches to reducing stress and increasing well-being.

  • I have direct experience with the coaching protocols in these three studies that report significant outcomes to reduce chronic pain:

    • A longitudinal study (Bailey et al, 2020) was conducted with patients at Hinge Health through May 2019 while I was a health coach at Hinge Health. A longitudinal observational study of a 12-week digital care program with patients with chronic knee and back pain that included one-on-one remote coaching, exercise therapy and education resulted in 69.6% of participants achieving minimally significant change in pain. Increased number of exercise therapy sessions and health coaching sessions correlated with improved outcomes. A year-long study (Wang et al, 2022) examined pain, function, depression and anxiety. Invasive, imaging and conservative services were higher for non-participants by 5.7%, 8.1%, & 16.7% respectively.

    • My Advanced Pain Coach Certification training by Pain Coach Academy (formerly Take Courage Coaching) was based on this protocol (Rethorn et al., 2020). A year-long health and wellness coaching intervention resulted in clinically significant reductions in pain intensity and pain-related interference and indicated improvements in physical functioning and psychological factors.

    • My training in Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT), taught by study author Alan Gordon, LCSW and researcher Yoni K. Ashar, PhD, provided specific techniques and practice in this method. Almost three quarters (73%) of participants in this randomized clinical trial (Ashar et al., 2022) using longitudinal fMRI reported they were pain-free or nearly pain-free at posttreatment and large effects of PRT continued at 1-year follow-up.


  • Ashar YK, Gordon A, Schubiner H, et al. Effect of pain reprocessing therapy vs placebo and usual care for patients with chronic back pain: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2022;79(1):13–23. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.2669

  • Bailey JF, Agarwal V, Zheng P, Smuck M, Fredericson M, Kennedy DJ, Krauss J. Digital care for chronic musculoskeletal pain: 10,000 participant longitudinal cohort study. J Med Internet Res. 2020 May 11;22(5):e18250. doi: 10.2196/18250. PMID: 32208358; PMCID: PMC7248800.

  • Rethorn ZD, Pettitt RW, Dykstra E, Pettitt CD. Health and wellness coaching positively impacts individuals with chronic pain and pain-related interference. PLoS One. 2020 Jul 27;15(7):e0236734. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0236734. PMID: 32716976; PMCID: PMC7384647.

  • Wang, G., Yang, M., Hong, M. et al. Clinical outcomes one year after a digital musculoskeletal (MSK) program: an observational, longitudinal study with nonparticipant comparison group. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 23, 237 (2022).

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I’m always interested to learn more about your work and in building my referral list. I welcome hearing the best way to discuss possibilities with you and your team.


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