Chronic pain is a growing problem across the country and in Wallowa County.

That’s why Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness has opened its Center for Optimal Living at the Crossroads Center in Enterprise.

The program involves collaboration with almost all the medical providers in Wallowa County, according to Stephen Kliewer.

Kliewer will lead Optimal Living. He has been an assistant professor at OHSU in family medicine, a minister, an EMT and was most recently the long-term executive director of the Center for Wellness. He is a licensed professional counselor and director emeritus for the center.

“It will provide real help for chronic pain,” Kliewer said. “At the center, people’s pain will be taken seriously, including a special plan to help deal with the pain.”

The program looks at both body and mind as well as the history of the patient and works to help individuals take control of pain.

While the program will not prescribe medications, it will use a variety of approaches.

“Pain is a very individual subjective experience,” said Mark Altenhofen, who has been helping develop the program. “If you’re only treating the physical part, you’re not treating the whole experience of pain.”

Altenhofen has more than 20 years experience in the pain management field.

The program will include yoga, acupuncture, mindfulness and a variety of exercises focusing on the brain or thinking component of pain.

Those participating will be part of an orientation and an intake interview, followed by 10 weeks of care. Participants must be referred and cleared by a primary care physician.


Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness will hold an open house for its Center for Optimal Living 4 p.m. Friday, May 26, at the Crossroads Building, Suite 1, 207 SW 1st St., Enterprise. The public is invited to attend.

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