I had chronic pain back-pain twice in my life. The first time age 34, after I had slipped a disc (L4-5) moving a heavy trunk. I was at University at the time and did not feel I had time to have surgery, so I toughed it out for just over a year and after my final exam I had a partial discectomy, which reduced the pain considerably. Six weeks later I was in a new job teaching nursing, but the pain took about 5-6 months to disappear, though periodically over the years it would return occasionally, though only once did I need to take time off work. When I was in my late 50's I split my L5-S1 disc into 4 pieces purely as a result of emotional stress; Three disc fragments were removed, but the pain became almost unbearable, despite large doses of Neurontin. I never got back to work. Then after about 8 years I read a book on how the brain changes according to what we focus on, and realized that as I was focusing a lot on my pain, I was probably keeping it in place through the effect on my brain. It took me a while to work out how to change what I was doing and then I completely eliminated pain from my life for almost two years. My asthma and gastro-oesophageal reflux also disappeared, so it became clear that as they are caused by stress, chronic pain must also be caused by the physiologic stress-response; a state in which the body prepares to fight, or run away from, danger.. I now have occasional pain in my shoulder or back, but I respond to it very differently so it does not bother me..
My intention is to write a book on relieving chronic pain by changing the brain, and I joined this forum to see what concerns people have. I must say that I have been almost overwhelmed by the amount of distress and psychological pain that people are writing about. I would like to suggest some resources that people can access that can help relieve pain. EDIT is a Canadian non-profit organization that advocates for people in pain, and provides cutting-edge information on the cause of chronic pain and how to heal it.
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Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator 02/28/14