The Bad Back Guy: Chronic Treatment-Resistant Back Pain

by coachz on April 5, 2009

Chronic Treatment-Resistant Neck Pain, Back Pain, and Sciatica: Psychosomatic Back Pain…It’s Not “All in the Head!”

Science has demonstrated that there is an incredibly powerful link between the mind and the body. In many instances, the underlying cause of neck pain, back pain and sciatica, also referred to as the back pain complex, may be psychological. Many times, when an individual is in pain and told that the pain may be psychological or psychosomatic, the patient immediately becomes defensive, often stating, “It is not in my mind, the pain is real!” The fact is, the pain is indeed very real, regardless of whether the pain is labeled as psychosomatic or not. When dealing with treatment-resistant, chronic pain the mind/body link must be explored, so it can be ruled out. In this article, we will discuss psychological pain, psychosomatic pain, and chronic psychological back pain. While discussed in a previous article, we will also address, once again but briefly, the link between chronic back pain and depression. Chronic pain, in any form, can be the most insidious, debilitating, and disabling of any medical complaint. In order to fully treat the condition, underlying causality must be explored and diagnosed thoroughly. It is true that most cases of neck pain, back pain, and sciatica are or have their basis in an actual pathology or other physiological condition. However, psychological back pain is quite common and in fact is one of the primary causes of treatment-resistant chronic pain.

“I’m Not Crazy!”

Unfortunately, when an illness is labeled psychosomatic there is often an immediate stigma or negative perception associated with it. Very often, when an individual suffering from neck pain, back pain and/or sciatica hears the term psychosomatic, they immediately respond defensively. When a condition is labeled as psychosomatic the connotation attached is that the condition is “all in the mind” or somehow “imaginary.” There is even a mental illness stigma attached, with the patient protesting, “I am not crazy, this pain is real!” Even people close, at times members of the individual’s own family, will say unkind things like, “I knew he was faking it” or “I knew she was just trying to get attention, I felt sorry for her!” For these reasons and others, the resistance to a psychosomatic diagnosis is considerable, often socially and culturally based.

Stress, Back Pain, and Depression

As discussed in a previous article, there is a powerful link between stress and psychosomatic illness, in this case neck pain, back pain, and/or sciatica; or treatment-resistant chronic back pain. Additionally, the link between depression and psychosomatic illness, particularly as we age, is often quite powerful. Individuals suffering from psychosomatic illness may experience incredible pain or other physical manifestations or symptoms, with no physical diagnosis. Paradoxically, there are a number of physical conditions, such as brain injuries and vitamin deficiencies just to name two, which may exhibit profound psychological symptoms. However, it is often the case that many individuals exhibiting treatment-resistant chronic pain, with no underlying medical diagnosis, may have a psychological or psychosomatic condition.

The Pain is Real!

Contrary to commonly held beliefs, pain that is the result of a psychosomatic condition, of an emotional or psychological process, is actually quite real. Psychosomatic pain, in this case treatment-resistant chronic back pain, is not imaginary, it is not “in our heads,” it is not the result of a delusional or a sick mind, and it is not the consequence of mental illness. The fact is that anyone suffering from tension headaches, ulcers, colitis, tension backaches, and a myriad of other stress-related illnesses has a psychosomatic condition. Clearly, all of these individuals are not “crazy.” I suppose the best way for an individual to understand just how real psychosomatic pain can be is to have them think back to their last tension headache and ask a single, quite simple question: “Was the pain real?”

Psychological, Psychosomatic, Stress-Induced Back Pain

Psychological back pain is simply another name for psychosomatic back pain and is sometimes referred to as stress-induced back pain. Once again, pain associated with this condition is indeed very real. While the pain may ultimately be linked to the mind/body link, the physical expression of pain, whether the pain is neck pain, back pain or sciatica, may be debilitating and disabling. Consequently, dealing with psychosomatic, treatment-resistance chronic pain is often difficult, if not close to impossible, without effectively dealing with the underlying condition. As a noted evolutionary scientist once pointed out, psychosomatic pain may be considered an evolutionary anomaly but it is completely human and utterly normal. As our system, and that includes our mind, becomes overloaded, it seeks to alleviate or eliminate the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately for the patient, it does this by shifting focus away from the actual cause, the real danger, expressing it in a very uncomfortable, often intense fashion; and, in this case through chronic treatment-resistant back pain.

Failures of Modern Medicine

Psychosomatic pain is the most frequently diagnosed and least understood form of both acute and chronic back pain. Significantly, most treatment-resistant chronic back pain sufferers, those with unresolved back pain, meaning that there is no clear diagnosis, by definition suffer from an underlying and misdiagnosed psychological ailment or condition. While medical schools are beginning to address this very significant medical issue, psychosomatic illness has long been relegated to the back burner of medical education. Consequently, medical practitioners are simply not prepared for or able to understand, much less treat, this condition. As a result, many individuals are misdiagnosed with this “scapegoat condition,” leaving individuals with very real physiological, structural, and medical conditions undiagnosed.

Impact and Consequences

Unfortunately, while solutions are available, they are still relatively unknown. As the medical community begins to educate itself, so they can be better prepared to deal with this condition, we are beginning to see the first steps towards a holistic approach to this problem. Psychosomatic medicine has been talked about for centuries, even Sigmund Freud was fascinated by it in his time, yet it is only in the last few years that we see a real movement to deal with this ongoing epidemic. Treatment-resistance chronic pain sufferers, particularly those individuals with an extended history of unresolved and undiagnosed pain, are most likely to exhibit a myriad of medical complaints to include ulcers, colitis, and depression, just to name a few. The combination of unresolved neck pain, back pain and/or sciatica and depression leads to profound consequences for the individual, the family, the community, and even the state. The impact of this poorly understood and often misdiagnosed condition or set of conditions ripples throughout the system with consequences far beyond those of a medical nature.

Bad Back Treatment Strategies

Ultimately, and until such time as the underlying condition has been diagnosed, treated, and eliminated, symptoms must be recognized and alleviated. For this reason, it is advisable for the individual to begin a wide-ranging, individualized, and medically supervised program to deal with both symptoms expressed and causality yet undetermined. Exercise, in and of itself, will have a remarkable and immediate impact on most individuals. Not only will an exercise program, properly administered and supervised, do wonders to alleviate stress, it will also serve to improve self-esteem and self-confidence. With exercise, particularly until the musculature adapts and adjusts to the new routine, certain other measures will need to be taken. The additional treatment strategies to be initiated, along with the exercise program, should include a stretching program, 2 to 3 times a day (see: “Simple and Easy Program of Exercise for Sciatica Relief… Part I & Part II”). Self-education, both individually and in a group setting, will also enhance understanding, self-knowledge, and self-esteem. Most importantly, either individual or group therapy should be initiated in order to comes to grips with the underlying issues contributing to the unresolved and/or misdiagnosed psychosomatic pain condition. The concert of bad back strategies will do wonders to alleviate symptoms, ultimately leading to a resolution when used along side of a solid therapy program to understand underlying stressors which resulted in the back pain complex of neck pain, back pain, and sciatica.

These are some of the “Ultimate Bad Back Strategies” I recommend. I hope they help you as much as they helped me!

1) http://www.TheBackPainGuy.info

2) http://www.HowToStopSciatica.com

3) http://www.HowToStopSciatica.info

Good luck and let me know what you think! Any products on the side panel are super for back problems!

1) Get an ice-compression brace for the times when nothing else works for the pain…it will! I know!

2) New Balance running shoes, they have awesome heel cushioning that makes such a difference when pain makes you count your steps all day long, just to make it through the day. I too know what it’s like to have to plan your steps all day long, just to make it through the day!

3) WalkFit Orthotics for the days when you can’t wear your New Balance but need cushioning and support. These really help!

4) Bone & Joint Natural Pain Reliever. They really helped me when nothing else did! I was amazed because I have never bought into the whole natural thing…but they work. They build up in your system and then, all of the sudden, you realize the pain isn’t as bad as it once was!

5) And others on the side panel, all good and all safe! All of the products are top-notch and help! The canes, walkers, and scooters, and I’ve used all of them at one time or another, are from the best suppliers I could find, and I did my research!

See these blogs and lenses too:

http://www.TheBadBackGuy.com

http://www.squidoo.com/TheBadBackGuy

http://BackPainandSciatica.Blogspot.com

Professor John P. J. Zajaros, Sr., The Bad Back Guy
216-712-6526
Skype: johnzajaros1
johnz@TheBadBackGuy.com

Article Resource:
http://EzineArticles.com/?Expert=John_Zajaros

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