Physicians frequently encounter patients for whom traditional medical treatments don’t work. Chronic pain has become epidemic in our society and the available treatment options are typically not curative. There are millions of people who suffer with chronic headaches, back and neck pain, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel and bladder syndromes, pelvic pain syndromes, and other disorders, such as chronic fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and depression. When medical treatment is ineffective, both the physician and the patient are usually frustrated.
While the disorders listed above can cause a great deal of suffering, there is typically no evidence of pathological processes. Unlike cancer, heart or pulmonary disease or stroke, these disorders do not cause tissue damage or increased risk of mortality. Patients with these disorders are often told that “it’s all in your head,” which implies that they are crazy or that the symptoms are not real. However, cutting edge research has shown that symptoms caused by psychophysiologic disorders are real. We now understand that significant symptoms can be caused by learned nerve pathways. Nerve pathways are responsible for most of our automatic actions, such as chewing, laughing, and riding a bicycle. Either physical or emotional injuries or threats can create and later activate nerve pathways that produce pain and other symptoms. Furthermore, once this process is recognized and understood by physicians and patients, significant relief or elimination of symptoms through relatively simple procedures can usually be obtained.