mystery pain


Diagnostic Mystery

“Acute and chronic pain affects large numbers of Americans, with approximately 100 million U.S. adults being burdened by chronic pain alone.  The annual, national economic cost of chronic pain is estimated to be $560 – 635 billion.  For many patients, treatment of pain is inadequate not just because of uncertain diagnoses and societal stigma, but also because of shortcomings in the availability of effective treatments and inadequate patient and clinician knowledge about the best ways to manage pain.”  Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research, Obamacare’s attempt to get a handle on the pain problem
I recently received an email from a woman who wanted me to diagnose her “MYSTERY PAIN” from a couple of exceedingly brief online conversations —- and was ticked off at me when I didn’t even try.  Trying to figure some of these crazy problems out is tough enough with a patient sitting in front of me that I can talk to and examine, let alone ‘guessing‘ about a few sentences from an email.  You see; “Mystery Pain” is exactly that — pain that presents itself as a diagnostic mystery (many of our patients have been seemingly everywhere and tried seemingly everything before I ever see them).   In many cases I can figure these out (take a look at our VIDEO TESTIMONIAL PAGE to see what I mean). Sometimes I can’t.  Either way, this problem of Mysterious Pain is more common than most people would care to admit — way more common.

In fact, when you start to read between the lines of the quote above, you will notice that almost 1 in 3 Americans are dealing with some sort of CHRONIC PAIN ISSUE (this actually translates to a whopping 45% of the adult population).  No matter how you break this down, these are astounding numbers!  Just realize that (again according to the same quote) both doctors and patients are unsure about how to go about dealing with their Chronic Pain — greatly due to the magnitude of “uncertain diagnosis“.  Listen; I’m not picking on doctors here.  I myself routinely see patients whose pain defies logical explanations. 

Because of the prevalence of “Mystery Pain” in our nation, I would not even hope to estimate the number of patients here in America that have been riding the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND for years — or maybe even decades — without any sort of definitive diagnosis.  Unfortunately, most of the time, bucket diagnoses are the rule du jour.  You know; those diagnosis that are often just thrown in the “Mystery Bucket” since practitioners would rather have you feel they know what they are talking about as opposed to shrugging their shoulders and simply telling you that they don’t know.  Although the following problems certainly exist, many “Mystery  Problems” are routinely thrown into the buckets labeled ‘FIBROMYALGIA’, ‘ARTHRITIS’, ‘DJD’, ‘DEPRESSION’, or any number of others.  Not only is it easier, but insurance only pays if your problem has a ‘diagnosis’ — even if that diagnosis is incorrect.

If you are one of those dealing with some sort of “Mystery Pain”, it will benefit you to understand a few simple, overarching physiological concepts.  The first thing you need to do is to get it through your head that most (not all, but most) disease processes have a universal cause.  This would logically mean that they also have a UNIVERSAL CURE (please understand that the word “cure” in this context is not allowed by the FDA.  Thus it is being used in an allegorical sense).  Understand that this is even true for many of you who have spent the better part of your life blaming your problems on “BAD GENES“. 

If you are interested in stopping your pain; even if none of the doctors you have been to thus far have any sort of tangible idea as to what is causing it; you may want to read these posts on INFLAMMATION.  Once you figure out the relationship between Inflammation and things like LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, GLUTEN SENSITIVITY, AUTOIMMUNITY, BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION ISSUES, and a wide range of other potentially “mystifying” health problems, you can begin to formulate a plan to deal with it.  That’s right.  You can’t count on your doctor to solve this for you.  If you want real solutions apart from being given yet another prescription, you are going to have to step outside of the box.

The other thing you are going to have to wrap your mind around if you are dealing with various CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES is FASCIA.  Fascia is the thin, cellophane-like mucousy-slick membrane that adheres not only to muscle, but to practically every other tissue in the body (fascia around the bone – Periosteum, fascia around the nerve – Epineurium, fascia around the heart – Pericardium, fascia around the blood vessels – Tunica Externa, etc, etc, etc).  Fascia has not only been implicated by some brilliant scientists / physicians as being a pertinent player in the CAUSE OF ALL DISEASE, but it also acts as an auxiliary nervous system as well (HERE).  And once you realize that Fascia is the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the body, yet can’t be imaged with advanced testing methods such as MRI; you begin to realize how it can be the perfect trigger for Chronic Pain’s “PERFECT STORM“. 

If chasing your pain has left you worn out physically, mentally, and emotionally, it may be time to do finally do something about it.  It may finally be step out of that box with the comforting name —- EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE.  Instead of wondering if your problem might be related to Fascia, why don’t you make an appointment to come in and find out.  No; I have not figured out all of life’s mysteries — particularly when it comes to some of the bizarre pain syndromes that people bring me to fix — things that no one has been able to get a handle on thus far (HERE, HERE, and HERE are a few examples of this phenomenon).  However, if I can help you, you will know in a SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME.

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