Debilitating yet intermittent Head/Neck/Back Pain. Psychosomatic?

Posted by karen1945 @karen1945, May 30 1:28pm

I have tried everything to relieve my pain. After seeing my PCP, as well as neurologists, who have found no cause for the pain, and seeing a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, and acupuncturist with no relief, I am about at the end of my rope. My pain journey began 20 years ago, when I had cancer. Since that time, I have had intermittent, debilitating pain. I can go for weeks with no pain, only to have it return and remain for weeks before departing again. Pain meds have had no effect on it, nor have muscle relaxers. I just have to live with it until it departs again for however long it chooses. I go between the heating pad, neck massager, and cold packs to try to alleviate it as much as I can.

The odd thing is that I can be distracted from it if I am totally engaged in an enjoyable activity or in a lively discussion. Only to have it return as soon as the distraction was over. This all tells me that my pain is most likely psychosomatic, rather than having any physical cause. The last thing I want is to be put on some kind of mood-altering medication, or some powerful addictive pain medication. I need pain management, but probably of a psychiatric nature. Has anyone else had this type of pain? How have you dealt with it?

@karen1945, I added your post to the Cancer: Managing Symptoms group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/cancer-managing-symptoms/) and the Spine Health group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/spine-health/) to bring more people into the discussion.

Karen, I'm glad that you are open to idea that your pain management solution may include addressing physical, emotional, and psychological aspects. This doesn't mean that your isn't real, but psychologists can help. Psychologists are experts in helping people cope with the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that accompany chronic pain. @rwinney can talk more about this approach which she learned at Mayo Clinic's Pain Rehab Center.

What types of activities are able to distract from for pain? What tends to exacerbate it?

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