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Going to see a Pain Psychologist for extra support!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:18 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi Friends,

I was referred to a Pain Psychologist for a surgery evaluation to see if I had realistic expectations for surgery outcomes.
I had never heard of a Psychologist that specializes in this type of therapy. The Pain Psych. that I saw was awesome. He has been working with chronic pain patients for 26 years, has written a chronic pain work-book, and has a web site.

I am going to call him on Monday to start therapy despite the fact that I am almost broke, because I know I need better ways of dealing with things and the added support.

SOmetimes I really struggle with the consequences of being in chronic pain. The side effects of meds, the loss of function the delays in treatments among other things I am sure you all know.

The reason for this post to let other chronic pain floks know there are Psychologist out there that specialize in chronc pain specifically. I have been to therapy before when I was on workers comp. I decided I was having trouble coping and went to see a Licienced Clinical Social Worker. DOn't get me wrong. She was great and did help me a lot with helping to change the patterns of thinking. But this time I know this therapist has specialized in Chronic Pain for 26 years.

On Monday I will be calling to try and get in to see him.

I hope that this post will let others know there are therapists out there who specialize in chronic pain and this os yet another resource for us to have at our disposal.

Thanks for reading and best wishes to all.....



  • I had sort of the same problem as you did JEM. I dumped her like a hot potato after she told me a med I take for migraine prophylaxis was psychotropic. I told her that the only way I could think of to get high off of Naproxen 500mg bid was to crush it, mix it with gasoline, and use it as rocket fuel.

    I don't think she appreciated that.

    I also never went back (the lecture occurred on my third appt)-they have no business lecturing you about how evil narcotics or other meds are. Their job is to help you with the mental aspects of chronic pain-and try to help you get into a lower need schedule if possible. Lecturing you and making you feel guilty for needing to use pain meds at some times does nothing for either one of you.
  • Hi Crissy

    Good luck with your appointment. Sounds like they have lots of experience. I think it is great that you have found someone who can help you get through this, it is a big stress to go through all of this.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Chrissy1331 & Jem
    I've been seeing a pain phych. for over 1 year now. My p.m. doc asked me to see him, initially I was sceptical and even insulted. among many other feelings. My p.m. doc. owns a medical group that includes this guy& others in the field of pain management.
    When I first went to my appointment with the phych I didn't like him, just by sizing him up I didn't think he could possibly relate. But I was wrong, he new pain management. as a mater of fact he had back surgery when he was younger. and I found out through him that my p.m. doc. had also.
    Anyway he tried to give me several mental tools to cope with my depression and pain. I felt very guilty of taking narcotics, He made me understand that they were a necessity. and helped me out with my lack of self worth, My guilt, my not being the person that I used to be. ect. ect. So I really think he's been a life saver to me! Literally.
    Monday is my last appoint. with him. his wife has been job transferred to Portland, Oregon and he's opening a practice up there. I'll miss him badly.
    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!
  • Thanks everyone for the input.

    I am glad to see there are others who have tapped into this type of therapy.

    Sorry for thosewho got the Flakey therapists. You know there are so many people who are opposed to the meds. They just don't understand. They are the people who should be in a different are of specialty.

  • my fingers are crossed for you. please let us know how it went. i am not seeing the same type of shrink as you, but i pray we get somewhere.
    soft hugs
  • Hey Chrissy,
    good luck and hopefully this will be helpful, and you will learn some new tools to add to tool box. Keep us posted and nice to see you here,

  • I wish I had found someone to talk to -- this sounds like it has been great for others. I hope it helps - I am 2 weeks out from surgery - so I am hopeful that the pain levels will go down after that! Good luck to you!.

  • My NS and PM both suggested I see a PP especially after a stint in the hospital for depression, unfortunately the closest one to me is about 2 hours away, (i live in a small town) and that 2 hour drive is just too much to handle for me right now, but I'd love to see if they could help.Please let us know how it goes~

  • I went to a therapist after my first surgery when things didn't seem to be going well. It was a disaster too. She focused on the things I had no problem with and made statements like, after telling her that I was having trouble coping with how bad I felt, "But you look so GOOD". After finding out that her husband had surgery by the same doc and she thought highly of him I stopped seeing her.

    My neurologist told me that, after I heal from this surgery, I must go back to therapy. She knows that I have to have help dealing with the changes in my life. I simply can't lead the life I used to and can't cope with it. She knows that if I don't accept it I will hurt myself and end up in worse shape. Like everything in this spinal life it's a process and a learning experience.

    I know that I'll do a whole lot of interviewing next time before I start that process again!

    Good luck to you Crissy. I hope the therapist is wonderful and that you get what you need from the experience. Perhaps you can share somw of the coping tips with us here is they aren't too personal :)

  • Hey griff,
    I am sorry to hear of you and some others having such cruddy experiences with therapists. You know no matter what--------there is always the people out there with their opinions. The ones that are therapists and saying these sorts of things to their clients should not be therapists. To Biased and opinionated about things that we CP'ers need a person to be totally neutral about.

    I had seen a pain management doc for all the time I was on workers comp. The drive is 45 minutes away. Then comp was done and I was off meds. When I had the Car accident a few weeks after getting off all meds I found myself back into the Chronic pain cycle agagin and then I sent back to PM. I went to a guy here in my town because of gas and time and pain to drive to the old PM.

    This doc was very rood..spoke over my words and finished my sentences for me. When I told him I was in recovery (12 step) from Methamphetamines (street speed) he freaked on me and changed all my meds. Then He did an ESI in a place other then requested by my neuro.

    My point is 1 visit and he ridicules me about the meds, which I have never abused, then dose a procedure in the wrong place and tells me after.

    I tell you I was livid and never went back. I am now and have been for the last year back at my old PM. He knows me and knows I am in 12 step recovery. I never ask for meds early. If there is a problem and my meds are not working enough I just see him sooner and we make a change.

    It just makes me soooo mad and frustrated when I hear these stories of the very people who are supposed to be helping us----going and passing judgements upon us.

    The fact is some docs and therapists are good and compassionate and non-judgemental with their patients/clients and others just should not be practicing.

    I hope those of you that have had a bad exp. will give it another try. and like Griff said take your time and interview the therapist first. it is our investment isin't it? We are totally entitled to get the care we deserve...

    Whew....I will climb down from my soap box now...very carefuly...LOL

    Hope you all have a wonderful day. I will share things I learn for sure and I will keep you all posted on whats happening.

  • Chrissy,

    Last summer I was hooked up with a Pain Therapist and thought "oh dang here it is, they are going to tell me it's all in my head". That was totally wrong. This guy is awesome and before I flew back in May, I contacted him and he booked me in before I even stepped foot in the US. I saw him the entire time I was there and he was great about making sure I had better ways to cope with the emotional and mental toll that chronic pain takes on me.

    It's a bummer that others have had poor experiences. Otherwise I highly recommend anyone suffering from chronic pain find a way to hook up with a Pain Therapist! We need all the coping skills we can find, and these therapists have a truck load that can be tailored to the individual.

  • I haven't given up on them. I will find another who can do the job. I'm a stubborn broad LOL and it takes a person who can get through to me as well. I live in a rural area but will drive a couple of hours if that's what it takes. It's important for the rest of my life.

    I'm glad that some of you have had such good experiences and I hope to have that. I wholly believe in he process and think that it can do a lot of us good- even if we aren't aware of it.

    Once again, good luck to you!

  • I am glad to hear that you will try again Griff. I am not to rural but this therapist is only in my town one time a week. My PM doc is a 45 minute drive through the mountains but I manage to get there even in the winter...just a longer drive in that season, but worth it totally.

    I have not calle his office to schedule yet. I am trying to make the appointment with the Ortho Surgeon my Neuro wants me to see first before making the Pain Psych. one. I really want to get on with the whole thing and the Ortho appt. takes first over the therapist.
    At this time I have been jumping through a lot of hoops before getting on the surgery schedule so I am focusing on that at the moment.
    It has been tough to do the waiting etc., but I will hopefully have the Ortho's appt. set up this week and then be able to put the therapist appt. on my schedule.

    O hope that all who are out there have a good day....!!!!

  • Chrissy,

    Do you have to wait on seeing the Ortho first? If you are in pain, seeing the Pain Therapist before seeing the Ortho isn't going to hurt you any more. Is your Neuro afraid he may try to talk you out of surgery or something like that? If that's the case then the Pain Therapist isn't doing his job right anyway. It's not their job to decide what should or should not happen to you, it's their job to help you cope with whatever happens or doesn't happen to you.

  • Hey all,

    The reason for waiting to make the appointment with the Pain Psych. was to leave open the days on the calendar to see the Ortho.
    Sorry if I made thigs sound more complicated then they are.

    My Neuro wants me to see the Orhto for a second and becuase he also specializes in necks. I am still going to have my Neuro do the surgery becuuse he is the best Neurologist around.

    Yesterday afternoon I finally set the Orhto appointment for July 17th and a follow up with my Neuro on the 25th at which time I am hoping once again to get on the surgery schedule.

    I am going out of town this morning to my parents place and will call to make an appoinment with the Pain Psych this afternoon if I can.

    I just wanted to leave open as many days as I could for scheduling the other appoinments.

    Anyway I will for sure keep you all posted.
    I also will be logging on while visiting my parents. I always bring my laptop when I go.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Hi Crissy,
    I had my last appoint. with the pain phyc. I was telling you about in a earlier post. He's off to Portland, Or. I'm in N.CA. mountains. I'm really bummed out! I doubt his replacemennt will even come close to being half as good as him. After reading some of these posts, I'm not verry hopefull.
    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!
  • JohnJJohn Posts: 964
    edited 06/14/2016 - 12:03 PM
    Part of the measure of acceptance to improve is that arguing with them is arguing with yourself, you may be going in with the thought that they can do nothing for you and they do not understand, and that may have an element of truth.

    PM patients are assessed in how receptive to change they are and those with stringent inflexibility are brushed aside to work more effectively with those that are open and malleable. You can resist all the time and live in the confines of increased pain as a consequence, if you have some fight use it wisely and not directed at those wishing to help, they can always go away and sleep through the night but it is you that is left with the pain.

    I have had my chronic pain some 20 years and was an angry person, I have changed, the pain I feel has never rescinded and nobody told me it would, I manage it better, you can either manage it better now or come back when you are ready, the choice is yours.

    The development of chronic pain as an entity is complex and a myriad of accumulative individual notions, no one remedy is available and a multidisciplinary approach is proving more effective in the long term. I understand your apprehension the ideal is to live with the pain rather than in it and none of this is easy.

    You have to find what works for you and accepting evaluating and developing is not giving in, it is a strength, much academic research has been written of the psychology of pain, the development of pain behaviours. I have never been an advocate of a twelve step process as pain itself does not work like this, my overall strategy changes every day and the facet of its management includes elements of this tool.

    Take care John
  • Jim,
    Sorry to hear that your Pain Psych has moved away. If you decide to continue in this type of treatment in order for a good outcome to avail you need to have an open mind that someone out there will still be able to help you. Try not to compare your last Pain Psych to the new one.
    I still have not made the appointment yet. Money is so tight and for the moment I am doing alright. I do feel that in the very near future I will be making this appointment. The Pain Psych actually suggested that I go after I do have the surgery so I know for sure that I will be doing that.
    My mind only knows what I program into it. I can make any situation a bad one if I try! LOL So if I tell myself I will never find someone to compare with this therapist I probably never will because I have already set myself up to believe that no one will be able to help me. See hwat I mean. I hope this helps you and you can see that as John said we need to be open and ready to receive the message that is trying to be transmitted to us.

    Jim if you feel you need some extra support with your Pain Psych gone to another place you can always PM me if you like. We do not have to do this thing alone..thats for sure.
  • If it is a GOOD Ortho, he/she will NOT do any surgery IF you have any depression/anxiety/emotional issues.. reason being is that the surgery will not work. There is a HUGE correlation between pain and our emotional/mental. My Pain Psych is of 30 yrs dealing with PM and actually is great friends with my Ortho. He will not move forward with my fusions (multiple for me).. until my Pain Psych gives the thumbs up that I am *ready*.. Obviously I wasn't happy about hearing this after suffering for 10 yrs now, but as mentioned in a different post, I personally have ALOT of unresolved emotional *stuff*.. I thought I had dealt with it a long time ago but after my third visit with my Pain Psych I realized I hadn't. Since then, which has only been a couple of months, I have come to realize just how they connect.

    My Pain Psych made it very clear in the beginning of what he does and he is VERY particular about WHO he takes on. I certainly have had my fair share of BAD Therapists, but a Pain Psych is VERY different from your typical Therapist.

    I feel fortunate and blessed to have found him.. it has been a LONG TIME COMING for me.

    Kind Regards, MsMiseryInMI~
  • When I went to the Pain Psych for the evaluation I was nervous that I would not come out with good evaluation. Right in the begining he told me that most people are good candidates...it is only the folks who are struggling with really terrible depressin.
    I have a history of depression, but at this time the meds I am taking for that are woking pretty good. I have down days emoitional sometime but they do not turn into an endless or hopless state of mind body spirit. I work though them and get out of it really quickly.

    When I went to my NS he read me the report from the Pain Psych. and it stated I was a good candidate for surgery and recomended that I return to see him after surgery has been done. I still have not yet made the appoinment. I aam running out of money so I need to be careful righ now. I may go 1 or 2 times before my surgery date whenever I finally get one.

    I am fortunate to have been referred to the Pain Psyh. that I saw for the evaluation, and I only wish I would have know of him while I went through my workers comp case. I did have a therapist but not one that dealt specificaly with chronic pain. Thank God I know where he is now!


  • Been following this post, this looks like something I should look into.My depression is real bad and when my pain levels escalate it can get downright scary.
  • That link between increased pain and depression is understandable and closer inspection may give you an insight into the relationship and behaviour at this time. Part of this is managing it better and more effectively, you have already seen the link between the two and this is the first stage, maybe write down how it makes you feel and the understandable apprehension you have at that time and what action you take and does the reality of these changes reflect how you though it would be for better or worse.

    It is suggested that a collective approach to chronic pain better is more effective from the diversity of things we use to manage it better, its complexity will not be eased by the use of a single approach. We used a pain diary to good effect to monitor how and why we did thing and used an improving technique on that basis. You have to be receptive to change and some are more able in this than others, how we think and feel has such an impact of the perception of our pain that any help would reduce the overall impact. This is not saying that the pain is in our heads but the implication of how we feel can help the overall balance.

    For me depression could be the gateway for addition and associated problems and I have done everything within my power to steer clear of this event and experience has taught me to try and not return, it is a daily chore and I have built up a diverse strategy which had been working, it take time effort and analysis, the offer of help support and guidance. I have a support worker that enables me to vent as and when required and forestall the accumulative factions of depression to form and develop.

    It is good to talk to someone outside your environment and not burden other family members who are living in the consequence of this collective chronic pain. Our pain is unique in that we are attempting to perform normal duties within society while hiding behind our game-face that we have so assiduously developed, they are individual and support us in coping. We may feel guilty or inadequate tentative and angry all of which is reasonable given our circumstance, we are to be applauded even with support and assistance in continuing our endeavour to proceed and we sometime just need telling we are doing a good job.

    Seeking help is strength a responsibility for others, we deserve encouragement.

    Take care and find the help you need to survive.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Hello all,
    I've been gone on a vacation and when I got back my new computer crashed, took awhile to get things resolved. I'm back and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this discussion, a special thanks to Chrissy. I have an appoint. on 7/28. I'll post how it went. all of you really gave me a lot to think about. and I'm going to go in with an open mind. the new guy will have all my history so it should be alright. I made so much progress, I need to at least be reminded of the tools I was given and not regress. Frustrated 101, I to was at a point where things were really scary! John you have a lot of good input, but you talk way above me. Put things in manner that a less educated person can understand. Chrissy, my work comp. covers my sessions. I wish you had insurance that would cover yours.
    Thanks all, 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!
  • Readers Digest - My NS said my case was too complicated so he's referred me to a Physiatrist. One of the things he mentioned was a Psych.
    I have been to Psych's and don't have anything against them, but it really annoys me when I have undeniable proof that I am in physical pain (MRI's, EMG's, PT reports, etc) and the Dr. pulls the "mental" card.
    Years ago (another med. issue) I was literally told the pain is in my head - 1 month later, emergency hysterectomy.
    I take real issue with Drs insinuating that I am a drug seeking hypochondriac crazy person, so my neck hairs are already bristled.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Hi all,
    I said I'd check in after meeting the new pain psych. She seemed to be allright and it was really just an interveiw. I have a choice between her and a guy who has'nt set up yet. I'll interveiw him too. but she seems to be ok. I was stressing when I should'nt have. I do that alot lately. I'll check in next mo. after my first appoint. with her.
    Thanks all for the concern, 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!
  • Sorry Howie I am trying and try to post shorter ideas, Chrissy makes a good point the we all could benefit for some mental help, the notion and response to pain is increased as the impact of depression and other things develop, we could have the same pain and think of it completely different when we are depressed and when we are not, no legitimate PM doctor ever said the pain was in our heads and the development of how we feel and our emotions certainly are.

    She went on to say that she wished she had know him sooner and that is a great observation seeing that you may of benefited from his guidance and experience. Chronic pain is built up from layers and layers of symptoms all supporting each other and no single item is the sole cause and development of chronic pain itself.

    I had some help sooner that later and it made a vast difference, that idea of constant support is better than waiting till each layer develops until we can stand it no longer and then are forced to seek some guidance, depression can creep up on you and after trying for a long time to cope it all comes crashing down at once, this is not a failure we have lived with the real pressure for a long time, depression takes time to develop and similar time to recover.

    It is a problem when we build up confidence and trust in someone and can take time and effort to tell someone how we really feel only to be seeing someone else the next time and have to start again, Britain is moving toward the model of seeing practitioner as we go along rather than as a last resort as has been the case over time.


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