March 17, 2009

Stress So Bad It Hurts

An article caught my eye in today's Wall Street Journal..."Stress So Bad It Hurts -- Really" by Melinda Beck. The article presents a patient's perspective on being told that chronic physical pain is caused by stress and it is "all in your head". Without further explanation, the patient feels indignant and angry that the health care provider does not believe their pain is "real". The medical community is slowly becoming more comfortable with the notion that psychological stress can exacerbate and even produce physical pain in individuals. Yet, we currently do not have a health care system that is set up to be multidisciplinary in response to chronic pain. There are initiatives going on around the country that begin to address multidisciplinary ways of dealing with complex pain issues. I am currently involved in graduate work at Tufts University School of Medicine's Pain Research, Education and Policy Program, the only one of its kind in the United States. As an initiative to share information and dialogue about pain management, we have started a blog (http://www.go.tufts.edu/pain) on the complex subject of pain research, education and policy and would welcome your voice. I hope that as President Obama considers health care reform, we as health care providers and consumers take on a vocal role of advocating for a multidisciplinary approach to true "health" care and not procedure oriented "illness" care. Only when we begin to acknowledge the innate connection between the body, mind and spirit will we truly begin to understand the complexities of the human body.


I would love to hear your thoughts!

1 comment:

Lisa Gualtieri said...

I thought one of the best insights in the WSJ article (which I had not read previously - thank you for bringing it to my attention) was that stress can exacerbate an exisiting situation. I also liked the focus on exercise, which obviously has many other benefits as well. Thanks for the great post!