Can Your Mind Be Controlled To Help Combat Chronic Pain?

Posted by Tom Macek on

The American Pain Foundation states that around 50 million Americans face the problem of chronic pain everyday. The main causes for this pain is usually migraines, arthritis, nerve damage and most importantly emotional distress. Even if the initial cause of the chronic pain is treated through surgery, steroid injections or therapy the pain will still remain in some way or another.

58% of patients who take painkillers regularly state that the drugs given for chronic pain are effective. Robert Gatchel, a pain management researcher states that in the past pain was seen as a physical issue that could be cured however, now research shows that this pain can actually be worsened in many cases.

A pain management clinic showed that sometimes physical pain can be in a person’s head, thus people can use their brain to control that pain. It is a saying that dates back to the 1970’s where doctors learned about biopsychosocial pain management which helps train patients to manage chronic pain through biofeedback, physical therapy and meditation.

The pain management program taught the patients how they should use their legs to pick up weight rather than using their back. The program also helped patients work through their traumatic childhood incidents. However this method can take around 2 weeks, and is very costly, therefore most of the people cannot afford this type of treatment method.

The pain management centers have physical and occupational therapy, so that certain activities can be done without aggregating the pain. The program includes 5 to 6 hours of lessons which help understand pain. Patients are taught how to relax and breathe slowly and meditate to help decrease the pain. The program is quite expensive, it costs around $37,000 to $42,000 for around 3 weeks. These charges are unexceptional to the norm as the norm can only afford treatment that costs around $4,000 to $10,000.

Studies show that these pain management programs are quite effective. 9 out of 10 patients reported an improvement in their quality of living. 3 out of 4 people reported that their pain level had decreased. Similarly a study published in the journal of “pain” showed that 70% of 339 patients who completed a pain management program reported an improvement in pain severity, depression, anxiety and social functioning.

The peripheral nervous system generates acute pain which sends danger signals to the brain. The brain then determines whether or not the body will experience the pain. If the brain is not trained to turn off the pain signals the body will keep experiencing it. Around 2.5 million people began prescription pills for pain, and then over time got addicted to those pain medications.

Hundreds of pain centers were present all over the United States, however in the 90’s this changed and later in 1996 a powerful opioid known as OxyContin hit the market. OxyContin became everyone’s number one choice of medication to prevent pain.

Due to this there were only four major pain centers left; the Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins University, Cleveland Clinic and Stanford University.

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