In beginning this essay titled, One Reason Medical Science Fails Chronic Pain Patients, I found it virtually impossible to stay on topic and concentrate on just a single cause of disappointment with the modern medical sector in treating long-term pain. However, I will do my best to stay on course and verbally develop what I believe to be the single most important atrocity committed against people who suffer from persistent pain and illness.
Among the usual failures, including pharmaceutical slavery, unnecessary surgical barbarism, unending symptom-based care, contraindicated treatment, misdiagnosis, iatrogenic error and the extremely high monetary cost of all these borderline criminal events, there is one failure that trumps even these horrific occurrences. This most awful of failings is the idea of engineering the human body as a machine, without any regard to the psychoemotional state of the patient. This is a problem that has grown to virtually universal and epidemic proportions within the medical community, but slightly less so in the complementary medical sector of healthcare.
Physicians, in general, view themselves as structural engineers of the human body. If something seems broken, misaligned, maladapted, irregular, atypical, degenerated, or altered in any way, the usual fix is to repair or replace the body part in an attempt to heal the ills suffered by the patient. While this seems logical and sensible from a layman’s perspective, there is a much darker side to this practice.
The first concern with the structural model of pain is that the vast majority of treatments geared towards “curing” pain do not demonstrate any clinically proven efficacy for their indicated uses. Virtually all forms of spinal surgery fit this profile, as do many types of joint replacements, injection therapies and other common pain therapies. Treatments are based more on “returning the anatomy to textbook typical”, than towards actually resolving symptoms. This is quite apparent in the failure of many therapies, including and especially surgical interventions, to end pain.
Worse than the poor treatment outcomes is the complete lack of understanding or empathy for the patient as a human being. Structural engineering does not allow time or provide training to soothe the psychoemotional consequences of chronic pain or illness. Even less enlightened, modern medical engineering does not recognize that many pain syndromes are actually caused, contributed to, worsened or perpetuated by mindbody processes, while doctors continue to ignore the mind and focus exclusively on the structure of the body.
It is important to clarify that when I discuss a mindbody source, or a psychoemotional causation or contribution to pain or illness, I am not implying that the pain or illness is in any way imaginary, exaggerated or otherwise invented. Instead, I am talking about a 100% real, anatomical pain or illness condition, including physiological changes in the body that can document the pain or illness, with the only difference being that the underlying cause or contributor is an emotional process.
This is not editorial theory or science fiction. Instead, this idea is now medical fact and is indisputable. Scientists now are proclaiming what I have been teaching for decades already: The mind can and does influence the body in all manner of ways, including causing and potentially curing pain and illness. The emotions do change health patterns, including altering the immune functionality for the better or worse.
The fact that medical providers continue to ignore this truth in favor of “structural engineering” the body points out just how lost modern healthcare has become. This goes a very long way in explaining the generally abysmal treatment results for all musculoskeletal pain conditions, many autoimmune illnesses and a great diversity of other chronic and functionally-limiting health problems.
Although the field of mindbody medicine is ancient, historically speaking, doctors are finally coming back around to the thought that they must provide more than just anatomical correction in order to cure people and keep them healthy. Instead, they must support and defend the entire human organism, using physical, mental and emotional therapies. However, since modern doctors are only trained to provide “structural engineering”, they are also fast realizing just how ineffective their many treatments actually are at healing and improving life, rather than just “architecturally normalizing” a particular bodily location that might be coincidental to the pain in the first place…
Its funny, but chronic pain patients have known this all along.