mfb-logo-stuck

If you suffer from chronic pain, we can help you regain control of your life.

The pain rehabilitation experts at Mary Free Bed understand the complexities of persistent pain. Unlike acute pain, which occurs with an injury, illness or medical procedure, the cause of chronic pain isn’t always clear. Research suggests chronic pain relates to how our brain processes pain messages.

At Mary Free Bed, we treat the whole person by utilizing a mind-and-body rehabilitation approach to complement or replace conventional medicine. This includes:

  • Physical conditioning
  • Body mechanics training
  • Pain management skills.

Our multidisciplinary team of clinicians has specialized training and extensive experience to put you on the path to a full and productive life. We can help safely reduce or eliminate your reliance on opioids and other medications, and find ways to re-engage in the things that are meaningful to you.


Who We Help

The Pain Rehabilitation Program serves people with varying degrees of chronic pain and other conditions, such as fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches or migraines, and musculoskeletal pain.

We can help you manage:

  • Pain that lasts beyond the expected healing process or chronic pain after injury or illness
  • Pain that has not responded to treatment
  • Pain that has led to a decline in function, such as frequent absences or an inability to return to work or school, or difficulty carrying out daily activities
  • Depression or anxiety related to pain
  • Increased or overuse of medications, particularly opioids
  • Pain that has diminished your quality of life.

 


How Pain Rehabilitation Can Help

Chronic Pain Management at Mary Free Bed - a therapist wearing black scrubs with a ponytail and glasses is sitting on the left, as a patient wearing a Mickey and Minnie sweatshirt, black hat and glasses does a stretch on a table. Our approach is challenging but supportive. First, we will discuss your individual goals and develop a treatment plan focused on improving your strength, stamina, emotional health and independence. We’ll teach you techniques to reduce your pain and restore your ability to function. We also share comprehensive strategies to cope with any remaining pain and how to manage flare ups.

Our rehabilitation program is modified to meet your needs, but typically consists of:

  • 10-12 weeks of treatment
  • Two to three appointments each week
  • Two to four hours of rehabilitation per appointment.

Our program includes:

Medical visits
Your pain physician will perform an examination and interview you to assess your health history. He or she will work with you to understand your pain and other symptoms. You will work collaboratively with your physician to reduce or eliminate medications proven to be ineffective.

Pain psychology
Physical and emotional health are closely linked, and the role of psychology in chronic pain management is significant. Our pain psychologists employ a personalized approach that may include:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which teaches you how to manage difficult physical sensations, thoughts and emotions while working to increase participation in things that are important to you.
  • Relaxation training
  • Mindfulness
  • Biofeedback technology, which helps us monitor physical signs of stress and tension, so you learn to practice relaxation skills.

We also address related issues, such as stress, depression, anxiety, sleep problems and the impact of pain on your relationships.

Physical therapy for pain management
Our physical therapists understand the difference between acute pain and chronic pain, and will help you understand the difference through pain neuroscience education. They know when to encourage you to do more and when to advise you to pace your activity. You’ll learn stretching techniques, posture corrections and other ways to manage your pain and improve your function through physical movement.

Occupational therapy for pain management
Your occupational therapist will develop a treatment plan based on what’s important to you. You’ll learn proper posturing and body mechanics, how to lift safely, protect your joints, conserve energy and pace yourself. A structured movement program will help you increase flexibility, strength and endurance so you can engage in activities of daily living.


Treatment Outcomes

We closely monitor your progress using a variety of outcome measures to assess the success of our pain rehabilitation program. Data collected over the past five years shows patients who participated in the program reported:

  • Decreased pain intensity
  • Less interference in daily activities
  • Less depression and anxiety
  • More adaptive approaches to dealing with pain
  • Less reliance on pain medication.

Locations

Pain Rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed has four locations in Michigan, so you can get the care you need close to home.

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
235 Wealthy St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616.840.8684

Mary Free Bed at Munson Medical Center – Long Lake
5191 Rosewood Drive
Traverse City, MI 49685
231.946-1979

Mary Free Bed Holland Northeast
335 120th Ave.
Holland, MI 49424
616.355.2930
616.840.8684

Mary Free Bed Kalamazoo Southwest
7125 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
269.492.6575


Our Pain Rehabilitation Team

Multidisciplinary clinicians work together to help patients struggling with chronic pain. The team is led by Dr. James Hudson, who has specialized in the treatment of patients with chronic pain at Mary Free Bed for more than 30 years.

Each week, our teams of doctors, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists meet to discuss patient progress and adjust your care plan as needed.

Meet our doctors:

James Hudson, MD
Medical Director

  • Serves patients in Grand Rapids and Crystal Lake-Benzonia
  • Board-certified by American Board of Family Medicine
  • Fellow of American College of Pain Medicine
  • Graduate of Western Michigan University Honors College and Wayne State University School of Medicine; residency in family medicine at Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners
  • Joined Mary Free Bed in 1983

Lyn Hulst, MD

  • Serves patients in Grand Rapids and Holland Northeast
  • Board-certified by American Board of Family Medicine
  • Graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine; residency in family medicine at Providence Hospital
  • On staff since 2018

Rebekah Rajlich, MD

  • Serves patients in Grand Rapids
  • Graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine; residency in family medicine at Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners
  • On staff since 2016

Stacey Watson, MD

  • Serves patients at Kalamazoo Southwest
  • Certified by American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Certified Physician Executive
  • Graduate of University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine; completed residency in internal medicine at Michigan State University
  • Joined Mary Free Bed in 2018

Meet our chronic pain psychologists:

Kimberly Bancroft, PhD

  • Serves patients at Holland Northeast
  • Graduate of Western Michigan University; completed Internship in pediatric consultation; liaison at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • On staff since 2017 

Anthony Bonita, PhD

  • Serves patients at Kalamazoo Southwest
  • Graduate of Western Michigan University Clinical Psychology program; completed internship at Battle Creek VA Medical Center
  • Joined Mary Free Bed in 2018

Julia Craner Cooper, PhD, ABPP

  • Serves patients in Grand Rapids
  • Board-certified in behavioral and cognitive psychology
  • Graduate of University of Maine; completed internship at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology at Mayo Clinic
  • Joined Mary Free Bed in 2017

Heather Dermyer, PhD

  • Serves patients at Crystal Lake-Benzonia
  • Graduate of Saybrook University; completed internship at Northern Michigan University
  • On staff since 2018

Rachel Gabelman, PhD

  • Serves patients in Grand Rapids
  • Graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology; internship in health service psychology at James H. Quillen • VA Medical Center; fellowship in clinical psychology at Battle Creek VA Medical Center
  • On staff since 2018

Krissa Kirby, PsyD

  • Serves patients at Crystal Lake-Benzonia
  • Graduate of Western Michigan University and Illinois School of Professional Psychology
  • Joined Mary Free Bed in 2018

Eric Lake, MA

  • Serves patients in Grand Rapids
  • Limited Licensed Psychologist, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor
  • Graduate of Western Michigan University
  • On staff since 2016

Evan Parks, PsyD

  • Serves patients in Grand Rapids
  • Graduate of Forest Institute of Professional Psychology; internship at Wayne State University School of Medicine; fellowship in clinical psychology at Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Adjunct assistant professor, Division of Rehabilitation Medicine, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
  • On staff since 2017

Emily Standish, PhD

  • Serves patients at Kalamazoo Southwest
  • Graduate of Wayne State University; completed internship at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
  • Joined Mary Free Bed in 2018

Donald Topp, PhD

  • Serves patients at Holland Northeast
  • Graduated from Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology; completed internship at VA Medical Center
  • On staff since 2018

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are questions we frequently receive from patients who are new to Mary Free Bed’s Pain Rehabilitation program:

Chronic Pain Rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed - a male patient wears a yellow short-sleeved button-down shirt with blue jeans. He is walking on a treadmill as a physical therapist looks on. The female therapist is wearing black scrubs and is smiling. What is chronic pain?
Pain is something we’ve all experienced and is necessary for our survival. Acute pain warns us of potential injury and is the response to short-term illness or injury. The causes usually can be diagnosed and treated, and the pain eventually ends.

When pain persists, it’s considered chronic. The causes of chronic pain are not always clear. Recent research indicates it involves more than just the physical aspects of your original illness or injury. Accumulating scientific evidence suggests chronic pain is related to how the brain processes pain.

Medications used to treat chronic pain often target inflammation and can be used in combination with opioids. But these medications come with side effects and potential addictive properties. That’s why we advocate for mind-and-body approaches to supplement or replace conventional medicine to manage chronic pain.

Lower back pain, arthritis, cancer, migraines, fibromyalgia, endometriosis and inflammatory bowel disease are conditions that often involve chronic pain. Persistent pain can severely limit your ability to function and can lead to depression and anxiety.

Will you take away my medication?
We work to minimize the use of medications as you become more comfortable managing your pain. Gradual elimination of opioids is always part of our treatment approach, because research shows they are ineffective for chronic pain in most patients. Additionally, opioid medications sometimes have severe side effects and complications.

How do I get off opioids?
After a few weeks in treatment, we begin to slowly reduce opioid medication while you continue meeting weekly with your pain rehabilitation physician. We’ll educate you about possible withdrawal symptoms, which we keep to a minimum. One of our physicians is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to address any problems that may occur.

Do you do injections?
Mary Free Bed’s Spine Center offers spinal injections for back and neck pain for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. However, this generally is not part of our Pain Rehabilitation Program.

Why do I need to see a psychologist?
Chronic pain affects the whole person and can lead to stress, depression, sleep problems and less desire to participate in activities you care about. In turn, these difficulties can exacerbate pain or functioning. Pain psychologists specialize in helping to address these mind-body relationships and can provide support and understanding during your recovery.

Will I have to miss work?
We are open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. We will work with you to try to minimize time away from work or school, and can provide documentation for Family Medical Leave Act coverage when necessary.

Is this covered by my insurance?
We work with most insurances and will let you know as closely as we can determine what your out-of-pocket expenses will be.

Who can I contact if I have follow-up questions about my pain?
If you participate in the Pain Rehabilitation Program, you’ll always be a part of the Mary Free Bed family. We are here for long-term support of your chronic pain needs, so if you have a question, please contact us. We are happy to help.