May 21, 2018

ALL IN YOUR HEAD:

100 million Americans have chronic pain. Very few use one of the best tools to treat it. (Brian Resnick, 5/17/18, vox.com)

Like many patients with chronic pain, Golson never got a concrete diagnosis. For a decade, the 38-year-old Californian went from doctor to doctor, trying all the standard treatments: opioids, hand splints, cortisone injections, epidural injections, exercises, even elective surgery.

Golson's pain was not caused by anything physically wrong with him. But it wasn't imagined. It was real.

After weaning himself off the opioid Vicodin and feeling like he had exhausted every medical option, Golson turned to a book that described how pain could be purely psychological in origin. That ultimately took a pain psychologist, a therapist who specializes in pain -- not a physician -- to treat the true source: his fearful thoughts. Realizing that psychological therapy could help "was one of the most profoundly surprising experiences of my life," Golson says. No doctor he ever saw "even hinted my pain might be psychogenic," meaning pain that's psychological in origin.

Golson was lucky; few chronic pain patients ever get the chance to understand the psychological dimensions of their pain or try psychological therapies.

There are 100 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain, and an unknown number of them are like Golson, with back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia symptoms, or other forms of pain that have no diagnosed physical cause.

To have chronic pain is to be a man.  To complain about and medicate it is not.

Posted by at May 21, 2018 7:35 PM

  

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