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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@karen1945 Hi Karen. My apologies for just now entering this discussion. Thank you @colleenyoung for including me. Karen, your words were very powerful to me because I spoke many of the same. You seem to have a keen sense of the depth of what you are experiencing. Pain stems from our brain. Acute pain can be resolved whereas chronic pain is typically an upregulation of our central nervous system. Central Sensitization Syndrome explains and defines this process. Ultimately, chronic pain requires a lifestyle change. That change comes from 4 components: physical, emotional, behavior and chemical. Mayo Clinic offers a Pain Rehabilitation Program that changed my life. It provided me with the proper tools to manage my chronic pain in order to live a more positive, productive existence. I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Might you be interested in exploring this approach?
Rachel

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@karen1945 I would like to add a video presented by Dr. Sletten on Central Sensitization. I hope this helps.

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@rwinney

@karen1945 Hi Karen. My apologies for just now entering this discussion. Thank you @colleenyoung for including me. Karen, your words were very powerful to me because I spoke many of the same. You seem to have a keen sense of the depth of what you are experiencing. Pain stems from our brain. Acute pain can be resolved whereas chronic pain is typically an upregulation of our central nervous system. Central Sensitization Syndrome explains and defines this process. Ultimately, chronic pain requires a lifestyle change. That change comes from 4 components: physical, emotional, behavior and chemical. Mayo Clinic offers a Pain Rehabilitation Program that changed my life. It provided me with the proper tools to manage my chronic pain in order to live a more positive, productive existence. I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Might you be interested in exploring this approach?
Rachel

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Thank you for your input, Rachel. I believe I have found the diagnosis to my problem. The video link you provided touched on it, but a book I read recently by Dr. John Sarno hit the proverbial nail on the head! Tension Myoneural Syndrome precisely describes my symptoms. It all makes perfect sense to me. Now that I have identified the problem and its cause, I believe by following Dr. Sarno’s program I will be able to resolve my pain completely. The brain is a mysterious thing.

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@karen1945

Thank you for your input, Rachel. I believe I have found the diagnosis to my problem. The video link you provided touched on it, but a book I read recently by Dr. John Sarno hit the proverbial nail on the head! Tension Myoneural Syndrome precisely describes my symptoms. It all makes perfect sense to me. Now that I have identified the problem and its cause, I believe by following Dr. Sarno’s program I will be able to resolve my pain completely. The brain is a mysterious thing.

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@karen1945 I am so happy for your findings, Karen! That's great news. Congratulations on being your own advocate and persevering.

I'm glad Dr. Sletten's video helped you navigate a bit. What type of management approach does Dr. Sarno recommend for Tension Myoneural Syndrome?

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Dr. Sarno contends that TMS is a defense mechanism the brain employs to avoid facing unpleasant emotions. Once you understand that, you can begin to eliminate the pain. He explains it all in his books. The book that opened my eyes was The Mindbody Prescription. After all the hours I had spent trying to resolve my pain problem, this book finally drew the curtain back on what has been causing me so much discomfort over many years. I understand the tricks my brain has been playing on me. Knowledge is power. There are a number of videos on YouTube that deal with TMS. I only wish I had discovered this sooner. Better late than never.

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@rwinney

@karen1945 I would like to add a video presented by Dr. Sletten on Central Sensitization. I hope this helps.

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@rwinney Thanks for the video I enjoyed listening to Dr. Sletton makes sense to me Gives me more room for thought

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