CHRONIC PAIN'S "PERFECT STORM"
I just got an email this morning from an individual who had a joint replacement that failed to heal properly. Every subsequent medical "fix" failed to work as well. The result? Chronic Pain caused by massive amounts of SCAR TISSUE. But this begs the question as to why Fascia is the perfect tissue for creating Chronic Pain's Perfect Storm. Allow me to give you some of the main reasons that Fascia is the tissue prone to causing Chronic Pain in a manner that tends to stump so much of the medical profession so often.
- FASCIA IS ARGUABLY THE MOST PAIN-SENSITIVE TISSUE IN THE BODY: In and of itself, this is a huge deal. But when you find out that Fascia is also the most abundant Connective Tissue in the body, you can see a Perfect Storm of Chronic Pain brewing on the horizon. This is especially true when you couple this with the fact that..........
- FASCIA IS NOT WELL-IMAGED WITH EVEN THE MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED TESTING PROCEDURES SUCH AS MRI: Contrary to what you might hear from your doctor, most fascia (other than the thick TENDON-LIKE fascia of the PLANTAR FASCIA) will not show up on diagnostic imaging (HERE). People are led to believe that even though X-rays will not show scar tissue, MRI AND / OR CAT SCANS will show anything and everything that is wrong with you. Those of you who have dealt with Soft Tissue-Based Chronic Pain Syndromes (HERE) know that this is simply not true. It's a huge myth. And furthermore...........
- SCAR TISSUE CAN BE OVER 1,000 TIMES MORE PAIN SENSITIVE THAN NORMAL TISSUE: This can be the final straw --- the one that breaks the proverbial camel's back. Think about it for a moment. You have tissue that cannot be seen with even the most advanced diagnostic imaging technologies, yet is the most pain-sensitive tissue in the body; and injuring it (whether traumatically, repetitively, or POSTURALLY) can cause microscopic adhesion and Scar Tissue. According to one of the preeminent experts on the subject, scar tissue has the potential to be incredibly pain-sensitive ---- up to 1,000 times more pain-sensitive than normal tissue (HERE). On top of all this......
- TOO MANY DOCTORS DO NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEMS THEY ARE DEALING WITH, NOR DO THEY STAY CURRENT WITH THE MOST UP-TO-DATE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH: I am not trying to nitpick here. Correctly diagnosing a person's problem is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it can be all but impossible. And it takes a significant amount of time to stay up on what the latest medical research is saying. But when common problems are either completely misunderstood, or all but totally ignored; rest assured that effective treatment cannot be rendered (HERE). The best (or worst as the case may be) that you can hope for is to be introduced to "THE BIG FIVE" and given referrals to specialists who will do the same.
WHAT DO THESE SORTS OF THINGS LEAD TO DURING YOUR DOCTOR VISIT?
- DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS LOOKS AND MADE UP EXPLANATIONS: When the cause of your complaint is based on FASCIA, don't be surprised if it garners all sorts of odd responses from the medical profession. I have heard an array of "made up" answers that would be comical if the situation weren't so downright desperate. Or you may just get that blank look like you were an alien from the planet Neptune. Both are common. So is throwing it in that bucket labeled "FIBROMYALGIA" or "DEPRESSION" and moving on to the next patient.
- YOUR DOCTOR BLAMES YOUR PROBLEM ON AGE OR "ARTHRITIS": "After all Mr. Jones; you just aren't as young as you used to be ---- your bones are old and arthritic, and that's why you hurt." This is possibly the single most common response to these sorts of problems. They blame it on your age, whether you are 30 or 90. I see this every single day in practice. ARTHRITIS is an all-too-popular scapegoat. The truth is, I have seen thousands of patients over the years with aches and pains that are far less than you would expect to see based on the severity of their X-rays / MRI's. Trust me when I tell you that scientific study after scientific study tells us that it is impossible to gauge what a person's pain level will be based solely on diagnostic imaging. Frankly, it's time for doctors to take up the cause for educating people about the fact that Inflammation (aka "itis") always leads to Fibrosis (the medical name for "Scar Tissue") --- HERE.
- IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD: This is one of the most sickening aspects of the medical community's attempting to explain the sequelae of the "Perfect Storm". It's all in your head. Instead of just saying, sorry, I'm not sure what's going on here, it's far easier to put all of the blame back on the patient. Truthfully, there are some days that I feel I spend far too much time telling patients that I am not sure why they are hurting like they are. Most people in this category are accused of being Depressed DEPRESSED and given all sorts of DRUGS. The reality is that many of these people have varying degrees of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE.
- YOU ARE TREATED LIKE A DRUG-SEEKER: My brother and sister in law are both E.R. Physicians. They, along with anyone in the medical profession, can tell you that DRUG SEEKING is a real problem here in America. Although many doctors want to throw drugs at you just to get you out of their offices, a large group will simply tell you to take IBUPROFEN --- no matter how bad your pain is. Neither is a good solution. The first is covering up symptoms without ever addressing the underlying cause of those symptoms. The second means that your doctor does not believe your pain is nearly as bad as you are telling them it is. Oh sure Mrs Jones, you have pain, but it just cannot be all that bad, can it? The problem is that many people with legitimate and severe issues with Chronic Pain are thrown under the bus when they are put in either category.
- YOU ARE ACCUSED OF BEING ONE OF THE MANY PEOPLE USING SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY AS A FORM OF "EARLY RETIREMENT": Unfortunately, the size of this group is rapidly increasing as well. However, it becomes far too easy to blow folks off and assume that they are scam artists --- just because they are complaining about Chronic Pain that the doctor(s) cannot find the source of. This is not a surprise considering what you learned earlier in this post.
- YOU HAVE BAD GENETICS: This is sort of like lawyers who play the race card. Instead, doctors tend to play the "Genetics Card". Tell people that all of their problem are due to bad genes so it's not their fault --- they have virtually nothing to do with it. To understand how misguided this sort of 'advice' really is, read a little about the field of EPIGENETICS.
*** WHAT IT ALL MEANS TO YOU; THE SUFFERING PATIENT ***
The reality of this situation is that patients are not always guiltless in the process of helping to create the "Perfect Storm". Far too many Americans are not careful about the FOODS THEY EAT or the amount of DAILY ACTIVITY they get ---- they are not taking an active role in their own health. And the truth is; there are fakers, drug seekers, and psycho-somatics running around out there and eventually making their way to the doctor's office. But every time I treat someone like PAM (a woman who spent years being accused of every single one of the excuses above) or BONITA, I realize that doctoring often requires some detective work that goes beyond the usual diagnostic tests.
If you are one of those people who think their problem might be related to FASCIAL ADHESIONS or other problems of the Elastic, Collagen-Based Connective Tissues, just send me a detailed history via EMAIL, or give Cheryl a call at (417) 934-6337. If I think that I can help you, I will. If I think that you might be better served by seeing another healthcare provider, I will tell you that as well (HERE). My reputation has been built not only on helping people with difficult-to-solve cases (HERE), but by figuring out when people have something that is not treatable in this clinic (HERE). Oh, and for those of you who are interested in solving your problem(s) on your own, HERE is a fantastic starting point for most of you.