Treating Pain

The emotional and psychosocial aspect of pain is not new.

It’s also not a trend.

Research goes back for a long time. Like YEARS. Pretty sure for longer than I’ve been alive, but a lot of what I’ve read goes back into the early 90s. The physicians I work with now, in my previous jobs, and who are in my referral network have been practicing under the biopsychosocial model of pain for decades.

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I think people think it’s “a thing” now, because we’ve done a great job at over-medicalizing people. So of course stress now seems to be at the forefront of a patient’s visit to us in the clinic. As a whole, clinicians are great at pointing out all the tight muscles, misaligned bones, degeneration, inflammation, and are pulling people off work or out of activities wayyyy too fast. We get MRIs and X-Rays way too quickly, despite literature showing us that diagnostic accuracy isn’t as good as a good physical exam. So we do all that, then tell our patients about how stress hormones amplify pain? Sounds like we can do better.

Pain is real. It’s an emotional experience. It’s multi-factorial, and there’s no one right answer all of the time.

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But what we do know, is that the human body is strong. We can effectively treat the person in front of us, and more often than not, it’s safe to do so without a complex exam, lists of asymmetries, and encouraging fragility.

There are so many courses out there, and research studies that support and explain all of this.
I’ve taken and read a lot of them. I’m even going down this road in my Master’s degree.
But beyond that - professional and personal experience has taught me that what’s most important is a combination of empathy, knowledge, reassurance, gradual exposure to activity, and not full rest.