This week's blog post was written by Leah Zinnert, Clinical Director of Neuro Therapy. I think she did a really great job with it - hope you enjoy!
I was working with a client the other morning, and the session started like any other at Premier - with a conversation. After a longer than usual discussion about his recent concerns, we got to talking deeper about his frustrations surrounding what had started to feel like a lifetime of pain.
In the midst of this conversation I asked him “How would you feel if you didn’t have pain?”
His answer gave me chills... and maybe some of you can relate.
“Terrified,” he responded, “the world would be too big.”
I then asked him to envision a typical day if he woke up and no longer had his pain. He told me he would have to re-evaluate almost every action and activity.
As long as he can remember, even back to college, he has had some form of pain.
He bounced around between medical professionals, who gave him an array of diagnoses or suggested that if he just did this "one thing" the pain would go away (sound familiar?...)
Eventually, it got to the point where he underwent complex surgeries on bilateral shoulders in an attempt to alleviate the painful sensations down his arms.
Unfortunately, the surgeries were met with little success.
What was interesting to me is that because he had been in pain for such a long time, it had become something that he described as being able to fall back on. He could use it as a way out of certain situations, almost like a crutch.
So much so that he was fearful of the pain going away. Could this thought process be what is keeping his body from letting go of the pain?
Let's break this down a little further...
The traditional biomedical health care model focuses on purely biological factors and excludes psychological, environmental, and social influences.
In this model, pain has nothing to do with how you think about it (which we know is incorrect).
For certain people, especially those who receive a wide variety of diagnoses and are repeatedly told their bodies are "damaged", this traditional model can wreak havoc, and often times leads to and endless cycle of frustration and failed attempts at a solution.
Simply put - this traditional model leaves people suffering from chronic pain feeling lost, hopeless, and fearful.
The conversation highlighted above raised my awareness to the idea that everyone sees life (and pain) through a different lens.
Therefore, it's important to have an awareness of how all aspects of health (some of them highlighted above as biological, psychological, and sociological) impact pain.
In this client's case, there were clear psychological factors affecting his pain.
Healthcare needs to be patient-centered, holistic, and focused on individualized clinical reasoning and communication.
Your health professional must take in not only what is being said, but how, and when, and in what environment. They must take the time needed to listen to you and hear what you are saying.
I bet there are so many people reading this that can relate to my client’s response about being fearful of being pain-free, and have felt unheard by provider's in the past.
Your healthcare professionals are doing you a disservice if they do not strive to better understand the individuality of your situation AND help you to let go of those fears surrounding it.
About the Author
Evan Lewis is a nationwide leader in Neuro Therapy and founded the Baltimore area's only specialist Neuro Therapy facility.
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