Functional Restoration

A functional restoration program is completely different than the standard Western medical approach to pain. Instead of solely focusing on the physical structure of the body or the site of pain, a functional restoration program takes a holistic approach to reclaiming function. This includes treating the many factors that create and affect pain. While SPARC functional restoration patients do receive medical guidance by a pain physician, they also receive cognitive, movement, strength and nutrition training to manage pain and aid return to work. Such behavioral training enables patients to learn long term independence, rely less on medical treatments and to be capable and responsible for improving their own health and pain management.


Program Structure

  • Typically 6 to 8 weeks, depending on progress
  • 9 am to 3 pm M-Thurs, 9am to noon Fridays
  • Physical therapy, therapeutic exercise, strength & conditioning
  • Pain management behavioral training including cognitive behavioral therapy and stress reduction
  • Vocational counseling
  • Nutrition education
  • Medical management including medication optimization

Goals include:

  • Restoration of physical conditioning and functional abilities
  • Reduction in behavioral or emotional barriers to function
  • Return to work (or work readiness)
  • Increased independence in managing pain and decreased reliance on traditional medical management
  • Improved life quality and relationships
  • We set individual goals for each participant, based on their particular circumstances and needs.


Modified Functional Restoration Work Conditioning

Some candidates need minimal-to-moderate assistance in regaining function and returning to work. They may already be working on a modified basis and are seeking a return to full duty. Work conditioning is a shorter, less extensive program option that primarily focuses on reconditioning the body.

Program structure:

  • Typically 4-6 weeks, depending on progress
  • 9 am to 12 pm, 2-3 days per week
  • Physical therapy, therapeutic exercise, strength & conditioning
  • Pain management behavioral training        


SPARC’s post-program alternative provides additional support on a twice per week basis to program graduates to include monitoring of home exercise regimen and emotional issues that may have arisen affecting progress, and continuation of vocational guidance.

Are you a SPARC Med candidate?

The typical candidate for the SPARC approach is someone who has undergone extensive medical and/or surgical treatment with only temporary or minimal improvement.

Specific factors that make functional restoration an appropriate option include:

  • Significant deconditioning from diminished activity due to pain, fatigue or illness
  • Psychosocial factors such as depression or stress that exacerbate the pain
  • Sleep disturbance related to pain
  • Over-reliance on medication for pain control
  • Family disruption due to pain and functional limitations