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Pain Psychologist!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,899
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Chronic Pain
Hey everyone...

Given the recent things that have been going on with my pain since my two cervical surgeries I have decided to go to a pain psychologist and see what he can offer me...

I was sent to him once by the NS who did my posterior cervical foraminotomy and then before doing ACDF he wanted to make sure I had realistic expectations of surgical outcomes...needless to say the relationship with the NS deteriorated and I felt I was not treated fairly or professionally so I changed to an Ortho spinal specialist and had the ACDF 2 leve done in Sept of 2008 with him.

Anyhow..Ever since my car accident in July of 2007, I have had a burning pain in the upper T-spine.. Not to my memory was naything found there but I am certain it could be investigated further.

So I recently started PT and that burning is out of control.

i will see the surgeons PA today to start the investigation of this issue.
They said no more PT for me until we figure it out...

So I think that I am going to try some Pain psychology and hope to learn some things about myself and the way I deal with pain.

I have to remember this may be what I have for the remainder of my life at the age of 39...

My career goal has been to become a nurse, but for now I will settle to just be able to go back to work in the next 6 months if possibel.

Has anyone here been to one! I have asked this question before but it was a really long time ago.

If so what was it that you learned in your visits??
Do you think it helped you learn about how to deal with pain better?

Please share your experiences...

This particular Pain Psychologist has written a book and has a web site and I also have seen him once for the surgical eval and really like him...
I also know a person who sees him regularly so I am hoping he will eturn my call today and then we can set an appt.!!

Misty Spirit!


  • I have the same questions as you. I have an appointment in January with the same type doctor, my spine surgeon set it up at my last visit with him in October. I never seen one before my surgeries, 2 cervical spine surgeries, might have been a good idea to do that before now. I'm also hoping that it will help with a lot of my feelings. My spine surgeon noticed on my last visit that I seem to be a little stressed, well yes maybe a little given all I have been through.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,728
    Hi, Misty & Sharon
    Yes many of us have seen pain Phychs. I know there are good and bad ones, just like anything else. I had one who had actually had back surgery his self. And that was a great help. But he moved to another state. He turned me on to so many mental tools. He was the best! But now I have another and she has the education but not the personal experience. Not to say she is not a good one. She also has been a great help. I would highly recommend it.
    Good luck,Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,728
    Sometimes you can get verry good pain phych info right here on this forum from other members. And if you don't feel comfortable posting certain things you can allways P.M. them.
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,728
    Sometimes you can get very good pain phych info right here on this forum from other members. And if you don't feel comfortable posting certain things you can always P.M. them.
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • I had 2 cervical surgeries this year and my problemscontinue. My neurologist actually set an appointment for me to see a phyhologist because she didn't think that I was realistic about my future, ie: I wasn't going to get better and needed to hop off the denial train.

    I can tell you that it has atually helped me a great deal, not just with the ability to deal with the stress but to also look forward to life in a different way. I still have to write down issues because I conveniently "forget" to tell her things LOL.

    My point of view is that if anything's not invasive it's worth a shot at this point. It can't hurt and you may learn a thing or two.

    You and I have a lot in common in dealing with our injuries and surgeries. It's hard to come to grips with a sudden and chronic injury and I have learned that I was VERY angry (okay, I still am). I am learning to deal with that as well because it causes stress and we all know that that doesn't help pain any.

    Good luck and feel free to pm me any time!

  • My pain clinic sent me to one as part of their overall program. I was hooked up to a laptop via cheststrap (breathing) and pulse oximeter to learn how to deep breath to control pain. I was game but when I got to 10 breaths a minute to relax, I felt like I needed to get to my b/t meds. I gave it a shot.
  • Misty,
    The complexity and development of pain are complex in the myriad of layers that develop and we are soon morphed into an individual that we ourselves do not recognise at times and this is ok. Pain does not come with a handbook as such and we manage our pain and the associated symptoms as best we can until that strategy no longer works or we have need of additional support or guidance.

    To some extent you will be the moderator of how successful this can be, in adapting to new and innovative ideas, it is not that we have to accept the concept or agree with them only that we implement what is asked with an open mind and enthusiasm.

    Initially some of these will seem ineffectual and of little value and over time these techniques will assists you to cope more effectively. If we live in the pain it becomes all consuming and takes preference over all that we do and think and that is understandable we live our lives in those windows of opportunity seeking improvement and expectation that for some never come. It is suggested that it take equal attention to exist with a negative outlook and we do have to be realistic in what we are capable of doing in reality rather than what we would like to be doing or think that we should be able do as before.

    Cognitive behaviour therapy attempts to address that issues that we have developed and change our behaviour that may in turn change our attitude and the perception we have of the pain that we endure. Sternbach suggests that this only make us more “stoic” in acceptant of out plight and accept some we must, it is never intended to embrace the totality of our condition and should always look for new and improving tools and techniques in addressing it.

    You having faith in what he is attempting to do will help you and the knowledge that he is successfully support others with similar problems and positive outcomes.

    Take care and good luck, I was 37 and this is my new life.

  • I hope that he/she is able to help you
  • but I am more than willing to wait for his return phone call.
    He actually has his main office in another city about 30 minutes from here and if things are still as they were when I had my surgical eval then he is in my town 1 day a week...

    So this plus some other things I am doing should be good additions to the over-all of how I cope with the pain.

    I am going in today for an MRI of the T-spine to make sure nothing has changed from the last one I had which was in Oct of 2007. On the 8th I see my PM and will hopefully be able to go over the x-rays from the orthos office and the MRI results and possibly plan an ESI as we had discussed before...

    PT will be allowed to continue and I have been cleared to do pool therapy which i am excited about!!

    Today I woke with really bad pain in that area of the T-spine...the weather is very very windy today...sustaned winds of 30 mph and gusts to 60+mph...these things seem to always effect my pain.

    I am working on getting it nipped in the bud before the MRI..Some heat therapy and my morning pain meds usually can get it calmed down enough to get up and moving on for the day.

    I do want to say that my cervical spine does feel much better then it did before I had the ACDF in sept. So if your out there reading this and feel there are not that many success stories, I consider my neck problems to be greatly improved! No more arm weakness and burning pain in my neck.

    This other thing in the T-spine I just want checked out because I would like to increase the activities I am doing and want to make sure that the source of the pain is not a sognal from my body saying "don't do that ...ypur causing damage"
    So we investigate and in the mean time get extra support from the Pain Psych...to learn new and better ways of coping...
  • Misty,
    About 2 months ago I was referred for some biofeedback training for pain control. I had no idea it was a psycholgist or psychiatrist, don't know the difference. It was quite a surprise to me on the first visit to walk into the room with a full couch for me to stretch out on if needed, lol. I didn't think psych rooms were really like that. The dr. proceeded to talk to me, or rather ask questions and have me talk, for the entire hour. I found out that I really needed it too and was quite surprised how quickly and easily I opened up. She has a way of getting me to tell her my thoughts.

    2nd visit she taught me a tool for helping with migraines. Just so that others will have an idea what biofeedback is really about, I'll explain a little of what she did.

    She hooked me up with some pads on my skin that send back a signal to the computer showing my skin temperature. She took a baseline temperature of my arm before we got started. I was supposed to try to completely relax (which I am learning to do) and then envision myself washing dishes in a sink of hot water, or soaking in a hot tub, or holding my hands in front of a fireplace..whatever is easy to connect with. The idea is to completely put myself in that place mentally and allow my temperature to rise just as it would if I were actually doing the activity. This has taken some practice, but I am getting it.

    The way this works, is that by warming my body temperature it opens the blood vessels that clamp down at the onset of a migraine. It all makes sense, but I really was apprehensive until I actually stopped a migraine. That was so cool!

    Since that time I have been able to prevent the beginnings of a migraine from becoming the full blown ones on 4 different occasions. Unfortunately I have still gotten a few, but I am still learning, and all this without a pill.

    She is teaching me other things, and I have another appointment with her next week. I know it may sound like voodoo or quackery, but it really does work.

    Just thought I would share a success story with pain psych, at least for migraines. I hope to be able to help nerve pain soon and hope that is not too far down the list of things I will learn.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I hope your MRI shows the doctor something new and helps them figure out what to do to help you. ( (HUGS ) )

  • It is unfortunate when one persons opinion (Doctors Suck) tries to take over a post that several people are trying to learn about.
    Misty Spirit, thanks for the question, I wanted to know why that type of doctor is sometimes recommended.
  • hey all,

    i have been on this board for a while and can remember when there was a similar issue with someone who had multiple screen namesand would do similar things...No big deal...there just are some folks out there who get there kicks out of doing that sort of stuff!

    Tonya,,,I am so sorry this person twisted up your words etc. Try not to be to frustrated over it all and send me a PM with your honest thought and opinions...I think that you will feel much better and I would also love to hear what you had/have to say!

    For no we will ignore this person untill the mods can get them off the board!

    I have not heard back form the Pain Psych yet. A friend has told me he was out of town and going to return this coming week. I did goe to his web site and check it out and I did order his pain workbook because I am pretty sure he likes to use it in his treatments with patients...

    I have an old work book that my PM had me get and I used the pain work sheets to track a lot of info. It was actually really good to do that especially since my neck injury is from an auto accident and all those forms were used in my case.

    I think there is a similar one in the guys work book. I will have to go read the rules to see if i can post the name of the book and the person who wrote it.

    At this time I have not been to PT but will return tomorrow and start aqua therapy which I am excited about. I have continued to walk almost everyday despite the pain and spasms. I think the spasams are a defense mechanism sometimes...not always but sometimes...
    For instance I practice being aware of when my shoulders start to shrug because I am usually doing this in reaction to the burning pain in my T-spine and somtimes due to soreness and stiffness in my neck...so I quietly tel myself to relax and even sometimes push gently down on the tops of my shoulders..

    My pain levels have been a bit high lately and I have no reason as to why.... There truly is no rhym or reason!

    So as soon as I have a date set for the Pain Psych I will let you all know...
    thanks for the support
  • If you find this to be beneficial will you please send me the information about the Dr and the methods used? I'm tired of taking Percocet and Valium. I would love to have one pain free day. I'm quickly forgetting what it feels like not to wake up without pain. Now knowing that on top of my ACDF I have Chiari I know that pain may be with me for a lifetime and I'm looking for alternatives. I've already looked into acupuncture but I hate needles so I'm not sure how I could take it though I hear it's completely painless. I do however have a very open mind and if this is a mind over matter issue then I'm more than willing to try it too. I would like to talk to my Neurologist about it and get his thoughts too. But I'd like to go in armed with information and not expect him to have all of the answers if he's never even heard of it.
    P.S. I'm going to ask Ron to delete all of my comments EXCEPT this one so that others reading your thread are not confused by my comments. That guy was a real nut case and my only sin was in trying to help him. Then he unleashed on me. Sorry he started over here after I stopped responding to him.
  • I used to be afraid of needles too, but after that nerve conduction study test on two limbs I think that I am cured! Have not had the acupuncture stuff done yet, but with all the pain we deal with on a daily basis it can't be that bad right?
  • Hey everyone,

    From what I know from the one appointment I was sent to by a neurologist to see if I had realistic expectations of surgical outcomes, this guy is really great.

    He is generally just like a regular Psychologist, but his specialty is working with people that have Chronic pain for various reasons...and illnesses.

    I know one person from my area that sees him regularly and he has learned some cool things about how to handle himself when people make verbal judgements and when pain is to much and he needs to excuse himself and go and lay down or leave or stop what he is doing.

    The man also teaches better self talk and some cognitive behavioral stuff.

    All good stuff in my book.

    I have not recieved the work book yet but I had a chance to look at it in his office during the evaluation.

    It had a section in there that helps a person to be accountable with there medications...
    another area that helps for a CP'er to learn how to become more active without causeing elevated pain....it teaches you how to find what your limitations are and to stay within the paramiters so you do not over do it...

    I am sure ther is a whole lot more that I do not even know about yet!!! :? :) :) I am excited to learn as much about myself as I can.

    Most importantly I think that as CP'ers we have a lot of burden that our mind creates that we all tend to carry around....mostly stuff that is deeply rooted in ourselves "about ourselves" and "how others view us"
    I feel this area is one that i would like to work on more because I feel that some of it could be contributing to my pain.
    Not all the time,but in some cirrcumstances ...yes!

    I also would hope to learn enough about being more active and staying within those parameters so as not to over do...which I think a lot of us do!!

    Anyway...I am hoping he is back from his vacation and can possibly get me on his books soon. He is only in my town one day a week so we shall se how it goes...

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