Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Real Pain, But No Solution?

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10043596“Hey doc, I have this pain in my back and I don’t know why?”

Chances are, your doctor may not know either.

One study (2011, 620 German primary-care patients,  Journal of Psychosomatics) estimates that up to two-thirds of patient pain complaints are unexplained.  Other reports seem to confirm this idea that pain can’t always be explained. In part, this may be due to patients having more serious psychiatric illness or somatic disorders (involve anxiety) that are not always front and center.

The most common symptoms of unexplained pain are headaches, back pain, fatigue, abdominal pain, and dizziness.  The goal in working with these symptoms isn’t necessarily to remit the pain, but help people live with it. We know that paying attention to symptoms can often make them feel worse.

And sometimes these symptoms are what we call “health seeking behavior” meaning something more psychological may be going on and needs to be treated. In fact, a 2006 study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 60% of patients who averaged 13 visits to their doctor in a year had underlying major depression.

What helps is cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation training. These can ease symptoms and improve a person’s mental health, as well as reduce the number of doctor visits. The goal in using these approaches is to help a person rethink his/her beliefs about pain and learn to distract from the pain.

In reality, most people live with unexplained pain and can still be in good health. So even though you can’t always explain away pain, you can still learn to reduce your anxiety over it, not ruminate over it and distract yourself from making the symptoms worse.



Previous Posts

Mean Girls or Is It Mean Boys?
Perhaps you've seen the movie Mean Girls. If so, you remember the popular clique of girls who ruled the social scene by backstabbing and being verbally mean to anyone they didn't like. The movie reminds most of us of those one or two girls in middle school who could use their verbal aggression to

posted 6:58:47am Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Could Visualizing Food Make You Eat Less?
You are on your way to work and feel hungry. The morning rush caused you to skip breakfast. You pass the bakery as you walk to your office. The smell of freshly baked croissants is tempting. As you look in the window, those croissants are lined up in a row, oozing with chocolate and inviting yo

posted 6:00:56am Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Treating Binge Eating With Medication?
Every day Sally vows she will not eat herself sick. But today is no different. She is distressed, eating past full and feeling as if she has no control. Sally suffers from Binge Eating Disorder (BED) which has been recognized as a psychiatric disorder. To date, there are no medications approved f

posted 6:00:35am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Is Binge Drinking Just College Fun?
In the throws of January, college students begin dreaming about Spring Break. Those plans often include partying on a beach with nonstop drinking. Binge drinking is "a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for w

posted 6:00:57am Jan. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Does the Cold Make You Catch a Cold?
My mom used to tell me to put a hat on my baby when the weather was cold. I used to argue, "Mom, babies don't catch colds from the cold. They get them from viruses. I'm not putting a hat on the baby." But now it seems that my mom could have been on to something. Could the cold weather actually p

posted 6:00:36am Jan. 21, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.