Advertisement

Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Real Pain, But No Solution?

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.

Advertisement

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

Why Sex is Not Always About the Sex
If you watch most television shows, you would think that the most important part of any relationship is sex! But when it comes to what matters most in a relationship, it's not the sex. And if we focus  only on sex, the relationship won't ...

posted 7:00:42am Aug. 28, 2015 | read full post »

National Dog Day: Take Your Canine to Work!
In honor of national dog day... I feel blessed that I get to take my dog to work every day. Zoe, pictured here, is the comfort dog for the medical school in which I work. Every morning she greets the students and helps reduce their stress. ...

posted 7:00:18am Aug. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Baby Names: Helping or Hurting Your Child?
When Shakespeare asked,  "What's in a name?" the answer is, more than you think. Many years ago, I worked in a very poor school district and noticed a number of the children had unusual names. The most unusual was a girl we called Phamalie ...

posted 7:00:52am Aug. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Angry? Do You Really Want to E-Vent?
John left the meeting frustrated, angry and ready to quit. He returned to his office and fired off an angry email. For the moment, he felt better, he got his anger off his chest. But did this behavior really help? Sarah returned from a ...

posted 7:00:43am Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Picky Eaters May Have More Problems Than Food
Rena, a charming three-year-old, stares at the carrots, potatoes and chicken on her plate. She tells her mom she doesn't want any of it. No matter what is served, Rena wants to eat mac and cheese and hotdogs. Her mom is concerned about her ...

posted 8:20:22am Aug. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.