August 27, 2009
The Huffington Post
The most overlooked reason why Americans are seeking medical treatment in the first place is CHRONIC PAIN. According to the latest figures 50 million Americans — 17% of the population, suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain is the #1 reason for missing work, the #1 reason for disability, and the #1 reason patients seek medical care in this country. Attempts to diagnose and treat chronic pain are costing us over 100 Billion dollars per year. Add to that figure, depression, which contributes to chronic pain, affects 30 million Americans (16%) of the population, and costs us $80 Billion a year. (1) And so it seems to me that we must be willing to build a new paradigm when it comes to chronic pain.
So, what’s the answer? The answer already exists and it’s called TMS or tension myositis syndrome. The phrase was originally coined by Dr. John Sarno in the 1970′s to describe psychosomatic pain. Psychosomatic does NOT mean that “it’s all in your head” or that you are making it up. That is a common misconception among the medical community and lay people alike. What psychosomatic does mean is a mind-body connection, specifically that there are disorders that appear to be purely physical (i.e. back pain), but which have their origin in unconscious emotions. In other words, how we feel emotionally affects how we feel physically. Unfortunately, doctors aren’t trained to recognize this in medical school as true, and are therefore not trained in how to treat it. More…