Pathways to resolving chronic pain through the emerging field of pain psychology
Dr. John E. Sarno was the pioneer of this approach to treating the mind and the body as one system. He coined the terms TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome or Tension Myoneural Syndrome) since then various terms have been used including neuroplastic pain, non-structural pain and psychophysiologic disorder. This has caused considerable confusion!
One in six adults and 30-40% of primary care patients suffer from medically unexplained symptoms, chronic functional syndromes or psychosocial factors linked to chronic pain. Collectively these are known as Psychophysiologic Disorders.
Pain is usually misunderstood, both in terms of what causes it and why. This misunderstanding has led to hundreds of millions of chronic pain patients being misdiagnosed and thus receiving treatment that tries to manage the symptom while completely ignoring the cause. To fix this, you first need to understand what pain really is.
ALL PAIN IS REAL and all pain is generated in the brain. In fact, the brain is responsible for generating every sensation we feel and, through the nervous system, it controls ALL of our bodily functions. The brain does this by interpreting electrical signals from our body and decides almost instantaneously how to respond; consciously and unconsciously.
Pain and other uncomfortable sensations are how our brain alerts us when it perceives a threat. The threat can be real or imagined, physical or psychological. When the brain’s danger alarm mechanism gets activated, our sympathetic nervous system prepares us for “fight or flight.” When danger signals disappear and/or safety signals are perceived, our parasympathetic nervous system activates so we can “rest and digest.”
When the danger alarm mechanism is being activated longer than it should or in response to benign stimuli, chronic pain and other symptoms can be generated by the brain. This is what we call a Psychophysiologic Disorder.
What are Psychophysiologic Disorders?
Psychophysiologic Disorders (PPD) is the clinical term for mindbody symptoms. PPD are physical conditions and pain symptoms in the body that develop in response to stress, trauma and other psychological factors. These mindbody symptoms can affect almost any structure, organ system or region of the body.
Conditions such as chronic pain, migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue and pelvic pain syndromes are just a few of the very real chronic conditions that can be diagnosed as PPD. In fact, you may be surprised by just how many different symptoms are actually mindbody disorders.
The good news is that after years of clinical research, there is now evidence that many of these mindbody symptoms (previously thought to be incurable) can be relieved and even cured without surgery, physical therapy or medication. With an evidence-based approach to diagnosis and treatment, you can achieve relief from your chronic pain/symptoms. (reprinted from endchronicpain.org)
THE MEANING OF TRUTH
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THE WAY OUT
Gordon, Alan, Ziv, Alon
A DIAGNOSTIC GUIDE FOR PSYCHOPHSYSIOLOGICAL DISORDERS
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THE DIVIDED MIND
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