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Written by: Dr. Neil Raff

Below is a traditional list of things that cause pain from both our skeletal system and our nervous system with brief descriptions of each.

What I want to call your attention to are two causes, one musculoskeletal and the other neuralgic, which are very common, severe, and yet not fully understood or fully diagnosed and therefore difficult to treat effectively.

The first is back pain, especially low back pain. It is quite common, affecting all ages, and can be quite severe and disabling. Yet the traditional treatment of muscular relaxants, pain pills, hot or cold packs, physical therapy and bed rest often does not provide the prompt or complete relief we need. Indeed, it often becomes a chronic and recurrent problem. Why?  Doctor John E. Sarno, a famous orthopedic and back surgeon from the 1980s noted the poor response to various types of back surgery and came to the conclusion it was due to a psychological cause, mainly repressed anger and frustration which in turn, all the blood flow to the muscles causing severe spasms. Through a form of emotional awareness and psychotherapy, his clinic has claimed to cure thousands — yes cured thousands of people from this condition.

I totally agree with his concept.  However, in the last 40 years of understanding of inflammation, environmental toxins, nutritional deficiencies, and the importance of the autonomic nervous system has added many other elements to this equation. This has led to the opening many of the doors of effective treatment, avoiding unnecessary surgery.

Because of our office’s  interest in nutrition environmental effects on health, medical detoxification, and the importance of the autonomic nervous system, there is a separate section which enumerates the various types of treatments listing the various types of treatments that are available two more rapidly and successfully control treat those who suffer from this common chronic recurrent and disabling condition.

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Important Medical Tests

Doctors seem to be ordering more test than ever especially imaging studies, such as CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans. Why? Well, there are two reasons.

First, these type of studies gives accurate images of internal parts of our body for suspected diagnosis. Blood tests give a great deal of information about body functions, the liver, kidneys, hormones, anemia, infections, etc, but which one of these many should they order?

This brings us to the second problem which is time because, since a good history and a thorough exam can take an hour or more, having doctors see 20 to 25 patients takes up a lot of time. Average office visits really last 20 minutes and then it’s time to order those tests, which is doctor’s hopes might give them some answers.

Take a common complaint such as chest pain. When does it happen, resting or exercising, with or without food, sitting or lying down, with or without breathing problems? Already, we have 10 different areas of the problem which could be the heart or lungs or esophagus or spine or anxiety or any combination. Which tests to order?

The answer is time. There is no substitute for experienced listening. It points the trained ear to the most likely cause of the symptoms and then the proper test can be ordered.

At Integrated Quality Medical Care, we take the time to listen not only to the patient’s personal symptoms but question their environment, lifestyle, family history, all of which are important to get the correct diagnosis.