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Chronic Pain...
By Carol LeBeau
2/15/2012 9:19:57 AM


Bill Walton is a pretty tough guy. His numerous NBA records rank him among the best in the history of professional basketball. But even a world-class athlete has his limits. 

Lying face down on his kitchen floor…the only position in which the basketball great could find relief from his excruciating pain…the affable Bill Walton admitted to an newspaper reporter his searing back pain was so severe, he’d thought about ending his life. That was several years ago. Fortunately, Walton eventually received treatment that alleviated his suffering. Today, his spirit renewed, Walton flashes his million-dollar smile all over town at the many community and charitable events he supports. 

If you’ve never experienced chronic pain, it may be difficult to understand Walton’s extreme reaction. But it probably comes as no surprise to those of you who know the agony of pain that never ends.  Fact is, an emotional reaction to ongoing pain is normal. Because our bodies and minds are inextricably linked, emotions and pain can also go hand in hand. 

Medical professionals…understandably…focus their attention and treatments on the medical factors that cause pain. However, this focus can miss emotional issues that can increase the amount of pain a person feels. 

What’s needed, according to Dr. Peter Sidlauskas with Palomar Health is recognition of these emotional factors in the evaluation of a person in pain.  Treatment can then be designed to treat these issues. “In doing so, says Dr. Sidlauskas, the vicious cycle of chronic pain can be recognized and broken. 

The most common emotional reactions to chronic pain include:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Irritability

It is very common for these feelings to actually aggravate pain. It’s not your fault. It’s the miserable cycle of pain causing emotional reactions, which in turn, increases the pain.  

The good news? That “cycle” can be broken. The ActivCentre for Spine Care at Palomar Health offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment for chronic pain that’s brought relief to many, like Bill Walton, who had lost hope.  

It can happen to anyone.  I know. Complications from foot surgery several years ago left me in non-stop pain for months.  The knife-like nerve pain wouldn’t let up….robbing me of my motivation and joy.  Fortunately, I got help and today my foot pain is tolerable and life is good. Don’t let chronic pain take away your joy.  

Call the ActivCentre at Palomar Health for help or a referral at 858.613.6252.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.



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