Chronic Pain Expert Forum
Am I normal
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Am I normal

I have always suffered from headaches since I was a child.  I have also suffered from severe back and neck pain.  I have had MRI's, Xrays, CT scans and they all say nothing is wrong  If that is the case why am I in so much pain.  I know I have a high threshold for pain because of other situations I have been through.  I gave birth to 3 children with no medication.  Had a hysterectomy at 33 and 6 days after surgery, I went back to work.  Any suggestions?
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You are not alone.  (I don't know about 'normal'; the more I see in psychiatry, the less I know what 'normal' is!)  Some people have pain that is never understood.  All the tests come back without showing a source for the pain; the pain doesn't respond to the 'usual treatments'...  the patient starts to feel like nobody believes him/her, relatives of the patient tire of hearing about the pain, particularly since they cannot help in any way...  

When I see a person with unexplained chronic pain I wish that I could experience their symptoms (for a short time!) to see what they are feeling-- thinking that then I certainly could figure things out!  Although that probably wouldn't be the case-- even when patients are very good with words and good at describing at how they are feeling the doctors are sometimes at a total loss.  

I have heard complaints from people here for proposing psychiatric involvement in the symptoms.  As I have said defensively before, I am not suggesting that the pain 'isn't real'-- just that the mind can CAUSE a person to have pain in any area of the body, or can make pain that is present worse.  

One thing I will mention, at the risk of getting someone angry...  after working as an anesthesiologist in a pain clinic for a number of years, I see pain clinics often as 'gimmicks' that generate revenue, rather than places where people are cured of their pain.  The 'block' clinics fall into this description the most accurately;  as an anesthesiologist it was fairly easy to place a needle in an area where some local anesthetic would offer relief-- for a few hours, anyway.  We would often add a bit of steroid to reduce inflammation in that area as well.  But that was a far cry from a permanent cure for the patient's pain.  So I recommend that anyone with a situation like yours be careful to avoid being taken advantage of';  that would include by the 'paramedical' specialists as well, such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, herbalists, and 'naturopaths'.  In general, if the person cannot explain what he/she is doing, and how it is supposed to help, then I would be suspicious of what the person has planned.  The same can be said of imaging procedures--  in some hospitals, a patient with your symptoms would have a number of imaging studies, even though it is clear ahead of time that the chance something will show up is extremely low.  That doesn't mean there is no pathology there;  just that some types of pathology, such as inflamed muscles and other tissues or compressed nerves, don't show up on imaging studies.  And yet the studies are ordered... of course that likely has nothing to do with the fact that those imaging studies are very profitable for hospitals and clinics!

I'm a bit cynical tonight.  I'm sorry I can't answer your question; I guess I can say that I at least told you that for free!  I don't mean to be 'flip'-- I'm sorry for your troubles, and hope that you eventually feel better.

JJ
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