I’ve been experiencing chronic pain in my arm very recently which I attributed to overuse from playing tennis. This conversation got me really thinking about what this injury could mean on a deeper level. In this episode my expert guest and I explore:
- Can negative thoughts such as “unspeakable anger” manifest as pain in our bodies?
- Why is it that two people can show the same exact damage from an injury on an MRI but feel the pain in two very different ways?
- What are some steps we can take to help our chronic pain go away?
- Can working through our past and present anger prevent chronic pain from emerging?
My guest for this episode, Dr. Jeff Axelbank, is a psychologist and expert on chronic pain. Dr. Axelbank is a recipient of the New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA) Psychologist of the Year Award and the Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) Peterson Prize for outstanding contributions to professional psychology. Learn more about his work and practice at www.jeffreyaxelbankpsyd.com. Dr. Axelbank practices the Sarno approach to addressing chronic pain, of which more information can be found at www.tmswiki.org.
An additional “fun fact’ about chronic pain that I learned while preparing this podcast but didn’t have a chance to mention was the relationship between norepinephrine and pain. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter we produce in the brain that regulates our mood. Certain antidepressant medications work by accessing more norepinephrine. Norepinephrine travels from the brain and through the body and inhibits pain in areas where it’s not useful for us to have pain, such as the stomach, joints and back. When the body is constantly shooting messages of pain to the brain this is a stressor. If, as a result of stress, we produce less norepinephrine to be distributed to the body, we will feel more pain in our back, joints and stomach. This explains why antidepressant drugs like SNRIs that attempt to access more norepinephrine can be helpful for syndromes which cause joint pain and chronic pain, such as in Fibromyalgia.
This episode is dedicated to Ginnie’s House, a non profit organization which provides100% free therapy for abused children. Learn more at GinniesHouse.org.
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