So Your Back Hurts?—The Science of Pain

Dr. Kate talks with coworker and pain specialist, Dr. Dustin Lee about pain science. Learn about the various treatments modern therapies use to treat all types of pain, whether it is minor, major, or chronic, and what you can do to lessen it. 

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7 comments to So Your Back Hurts?—The Science of Pain

  1. Mary Lloyd at 1:57 pm

    Awesome episode! Very well explained. Everyone needs to watch this episode.

  2. ladyastral67 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Dr. Kate,

    This may be a long comment so my apologies hahaa! I am a person with chronic pain and lived with it for 32 yrs (still to this day and I am now 50). I was the passenger in a car accident in which I went face first into the radio system upon my friend hitting a telephone pole at 60 mph. At the time of initial injury, life was shitty and I did not receive any treatment as my stepmother said it was my punishment for not being where I was supposed to be (senior yr spring break…1985). I “recovered” but then about 3 yrs later, I started to have these debilitating headaches. Sought Dr. care and was treated for migraines even though no one ever looked to see what was going on with my neck. By the age of 25 during my first pregnancy, I started to have very bad allergies I had never had before. After having bronchitis for two years, I finally got referred to an allergist who said it was normal for women to develop allergies during pregnancy and I needed to do shots because I had too many allergens to treat. By age 29, during my second pregnancy and my headaches got worse, I had finally seen a chiropractor and found out there was major damage from my atlas to T3 with bulging discs, pinched nerves and so on. So I began treatment.

    I was unable to continue treatment as we then relocated from Santa Barbara to Las Vegas after the birth of my second child. I had seen other doctors for the severe headaches and no one was ever able to help me like the chiro did as it was take this pill or that pill and then if those don’t work, well take this high dose of codeine that will knock you out but hopefully the headache will be gone when you wake up. I dealt with that mentality from doctors for years. At age 32, I had a reading and was guided to become the healer I was meant to be and it was suggested to go into massage therapy as the avenue. I soaked up the schooling as finally I was understanding the complexity of the human anatomy myself! Two years later, I started to have major issues with hormonal imbalance but I was okay with it as I understood how my cervical spine state and the condition of the nerves conduction and neurotransmitters were impacting other body systems. My “condition” was a major factor in my spiritual journey and life in taking the reins of a healer and eventually mediumship. I was determined that if others could not help me, at least I could help others like me.

    I studied Reiki, energy healing in all forms, food healing, supplements, and anything I could related. When I moved from Vegas to NC where I am now, I finally left accts receivable and went into massage therapy full time for my career. We moved for my health as office stress, responsibilities and so on were only putting me in perpetual pain of very high levels. We moved to the country and I put in place all these various factors to decrease stress and work as a healer. Again I went full force and pushed my body beyond the limits I knew were affecting me. Since I worked with a chiropractor who also specialized in Internal medicine, I did testing to find supplements to aid my body to balance as the cervical issue was triggering all kinds of other health issues from eating, sleeping, digestion and so on. I also did try PT but the therapist in one session did a few things that put me flat on my back in such high pain for two weeks, I never went back and it was a coworker. After a few years, upon another set back, my chiropractor that I worked for told me I had to stop working. I had already quit driving and here I am in my early 40s being told the bones, discs, and nerves were that of a 70-75 yr old and I was very high risk.

    Changed gears, quit working and started to do all the various specialist doctors as I had filed for disability. I was sent to a pain mgmt specialist that is supposed to be the best in our state. In the initial appointment that I brought my mother with me for as she is a retired RN, he looks at my list of supplements and cannabis is listed as well. He starts to do the physical exam and pauses to notate that yes Fibro is one of the many listings of diagnosis. He looks at me and says,”well you know in order for me to treat you, you have to stop all the supplements and cannot use cannabis at all due to the drug testing each month to fill the narcotics I can prescribe you. BUT, what you are doing and using is actually the best recourse long term, I just can’t write that down as cannabis is illegal.” I asked, “would these drugs you could give me take away my cognitive thought?” He said yes and it would also require me to be supervised on a daily or hourly basis to ensure you didn’t harm yourself or another. He gets a phone call on his cell, goes out the door for the call and never returned. His nurse came in with two scripts and said take these and if you want to try the stronger narcotics or continue with him as a patient, then come back in 30 days. I left there shocked. I researched the drugs he gave me and my family all said NO WAY are you taking these and we flushed them down the toilet. Now mind you I also during this time had been referred to two top notch Ortho Surgeons. Both told me to wait 10 yrs for better technology to come out before doing any surgery as the only options were to start fusing the cervical discs and I was too young to start that at 43! I lost my disability case because I would not take the scripts and use cannabis for pain mgmt.

    BUT what all this did was send me into another healing direction. I needed to understand what other factors were involved with all this. So I did several past life regressions in which I found a string of several lives doing “spiritual work” in which I was hanged, beheaded and all kinds of deaths via the neck. Okay check! I traced it back to a life time in which I did healing and really screwed up. Each time, the therapist would get to my master guide and ask to heal my body fully and they would say,”no, you can give her tools to help her cope but this is serving many purposes in her life.” Well shit. Okay… regroup!

    I would have to say though that it was a major factor to hear that from Spirit. It made me stop and rethink. I finally said to myself, “okay if they are saying it is serving many purposes in my life and living with a headache every day for so many years, the cervical issues have purpose, then why am I fighting it like it is something wrong with me and to be fixed. If it has purpose, then why don’t I accept that it is a part of WHO I am and stop fighting it like it is wrong!” Game Changer!

    Yes, I still live with a headache and most of the time it is level 2 (my 2 which is higher than others due to dealing with this chronic pain for so long). I eat a good diet that is to my needs. I live a very quiet life (often told I am a hermit hahaa), on bad days, I tend to my needs, on good days, I do what I feel is needed. I listen to my body.. I pay attention to the cues… I take my supplements and put my needs in the forefront.. I have a great chiropractor who knows my issues and is always there with support when I need him. I openly discuss or share with my family so they know and are aware. When I came to the point of acceptance of what all this is for in my life is when real healing took place. I still have hormonal imbalance, allergies, headaches, and a serious pain in the neck and yet life is gorgeous, funny, and I am happier now than ever before. I do what I can when I can and when I can’t, there is no fight, just acceptance that I need to take care of me. My cervical spine may be a mess and it can’t be fixed but I sure as hell slowed down the progression it was having before, and yes it may be the cause of my demise, but today… life is awesome.

    Again, my apologies for writing a mini book as a response but I share the details of my own journey in the venture of pain very openly as it may help another find hope.

    • Dr. Kate at 10:03 pm

      Wow what a story ladyastral67! Thank you for sharing. I think the more we discuss what we are struggling with the more we can help others and ourselves. You are doing what the science is suggesting- looking your pain in the face and saying “Yes, this is real. Yes it sucks but I am going to keep living” Good for you! I hope this episode was helpful and gave you even more insight. Take care of yourself and thank you again for your comment!

    • bakingtt at 11:07 am

      Thank you very much for sharing. I love your attitude. I wish you many many hours of joy.

  3. bakingtt at 11:01 am

    Thanks. This was really helpful.

    I know a few young women who really suffer as a result of ovarian cysts or endometriosis, can you address those issues sometime please.

  4. STEPHANIEMELTON3 at 9:10 am

    Thank you very much for this episode! I have been in chronic pain for many years.
    All the parts about a supportive team really resonated with me! I am going to work on that aspect!

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