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Pain Psychologists

I saw my psychiatrist on Tuesday, and he gave me the name of a pain psychologist who works as part of our university hospital's pain clinic.

I've never heard of such a thing. What do they do? Anyone been to one?
(see profile for medical details)

I *heart* my TENS unit.


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    My pain clinic has one on staff, I think it is a great idea. Anyone who lives with pain 24 hrs a day needs to also take care of the mental stress that comes with the pain, I am required to see mine now twice a year. My appointments are basically how am I doing, am I getting the support I need, am I depressed? ect ect. During really hard times I can call and make a appointment with him anytime I feel the need. Chronic pain affects every part of your life. Sometimes I go just to vent to someone who will not judge but understand what a day in life of me is like.
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 02/12/2014 - 11:30 PM
    I've been to a pain psychologist and a pain psychiatrist. The pain psychologist introduced coping measures for pain and pain manuals. The pain Dr who was a shrink was crazy himself - didn't really believe my pain even though I was in tears every time I went and took someone to vouch for my pain. he cost 10 bucks a minute cracked weak jokes and only seemed to care about money. Then he wanted to put me on psych medications so I would be a zombie, he said he was recommending to my GP muscle relaxants which I needed but he asked my GP to prescribe Largactil. That is a psych medication.

    Luckily I knew what largactil does from nursing training in a psych ward - so talked my GP into another muscle relaxant. The psychiatrist told me one thing and then wrote a letter to my GP saying something totally different. My GP has know me a long time and showed me what he had written. I was really angry and a bit shocked he was not being honest. He told me my pain should have healed by now- I showed him all the MRI's that look pretty bad, he didn't pick up my vertebrae was crushed to the side, - after 8 years and insinuated it was in my head. I still haven't written to him to say it was a mechanical problem that caused my pain as I am scared he will sabotage my medication. It's pretty pathetic that if you complain about a Dr here that they can sabotage you as the medication laws are so strict.

    To be honest both were pretty unhelpful - the psychologist in the pain clinic was talking to 20 different people with 20 different problems - no-one except for three of us came back for a follow up appt so can't have helped the 17 other people. I only came back as I was desperate . When I said to the specialist the clinic did not help my pain he lost the plot.

    I think the pain clinic made my pain worse as I was not correctly diagnosed as having a mechanical problem so most of the exercises made my T4 move further out of place and I would be in agony at the end of each day. They gave the same exercises to everyone. We all had different types of pain. So lazily making all of us do the same exercises was useless. And the price they charged each person was absolutely ridiculous. I could have had gym membership for a couple of years at least for what the clinic cost. I could have had a personal trainer.

    The only valuable thing I found out from the nutritionalist at the pain clinic is that canned fish doesn't have any goodness anymore because they take all the fish oil out to make it into fish oil capsules and use the fish after it has lost it's goodness in the tin. They get more money for the capsules.

    So that stopped tuna mornay, sardines and tuna. I thought I was eating nutritionally but there you go.
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  • My pdoc said that the psychologist has techniques to use to cope with pain. When I looked at her website it said she uses meditation, teaches self hypnosis, and uses CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy for those who don't have as big a psych history as I do). So basically she's trying to get you to stop pain signals through other modalities. In my experience, meditation is nice for relaxation, but doesn't affect my pain. I have no past knowledge of self hypnosis but I have a dissociative disorder already so I am hesitant about that. I've avoided CBT and DBT at this point.

    thoracic spine pain, I'm so sorry you had that experience!! It sounds like hell for you to try to get some help but to go through that. I appreciate you taking the time to type that out for me. It certainly makes me want to be sure the pain psych is well respected. This one is through a leading teaching hospital in the U.S. (can't name them by forum rules) so you'd think she's okay.

    jjlrfrye - that's a lot like what my psychiatrist already does for half an hour every eight weeks. It's great that you have a place to vent! I don't know that a pain psych like that would be helpful for me or would be duplicate care.

    Right now I am dealing with $40 co-pays every time I go to PT, so that's my priority. But I admit I'm curious about pain psychology.
    (see profile for medical details)

    I *heart* my TENS unit.
  • Hi Shmooey. I studied hypnosis myself as I thought it would be useful in controlling my pain. Most good hypnosis practicioners will not give hypnosis to people with psych histories as sometimes if you go into it deeply, you can lose their voice which means they have no control if something goes wrong. I have also had a therapy called EMDR (with another psychologist who wasn't part of the pain clinic) - it is rapid eye movement and it worked for me for another situation but not for pain. She was an excellent psychologist as she had had severe trauma herself so understood and had been through a lot of things herself.

    She does sound good, my psychologist was good but it didn't really help my pain,as my pain was mechanical. At least she sounds like she is very knowledgeable in her area so good luck. I hope it works for you,

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