Stress management helping patients with physical ailments at University Hospitals

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CLEVELAND– Susan Poling is once again singing in her church choir after she was silenced by unrelenting back pain.

“I’m pretty much back to doing most of my regular activities,” she said.

Poling injured her back five years ago. After other treatments didn’t work and facing depression over the impact of the pain on her life, she turned to University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network.

“I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m not leaving any stone of this unturned, so it won’t hurt me, and let’s see what happens,’ and it’s just been amazing,” she said.

In conjunction with traditional medicine, Connor provides integrative therapies that take a holistic approach to healing. Patients dealing with a wide variety of conditions including chronic pain, anxiety, headaches, fertility and more have found relief through integrative medicine that helps manage stress.

Wednesday marks National Stress Awareness Day.

“Stress, over a long period of time, can wear on the body both physically and mentally,” said physician assistant Leah Basch.

Basch works with patients to identify their stressors and ways to help control the body’s response.

Therapies include therapeutic massage, mindfulness and meditation, and acupuncture. Connor also provides free group meditation sessions two nights a week. The therapies are used to help manage the underlying stress that contributes to physical ailments.

“It allows patients, people in general, to have a sense of control when they are feeling out of control,” Basch said.

For Poling – whose stressors included caring for her adult son with autism – treatment included therapeutic massage and meditating in the morning and at night. She said the therapies have eliminated her pain and changed her life.

She said the therapies have eliminated her pain and changed her life.

“The pain is not there, I’m like a one, and if I do something stupid, it’s like a two,” Poling said. “It has made a huge difference.”

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