Hey Women, The Pain Is Not All in Your Head

Hey Women, The Pain Is Not All in Your Head

By Ed Coghlan.

There’s a powerful op-ed in the Los Angeles Times  that all pain patients—particularly women—might read. It may sound familiar.

The piece is written by Emily Dwass who recounts her case that took four years and several doctors before she learned that I had a meningioma, a nonmalignant tumor that had grown so much it became difficult to treat.

Dwass wrote: The “all in your head” misdiagnosis is still amazingly common. Doctors dole it out for neurological, autoimmune and even cardiac problems; they sometimes refer women for psychological evaluations before addressing their physical symptoms.

When I read the piece, I thought immediately of checking in with Gracie Gean Bagosy Young, a chronic pain survivor (or warrior as she describes herself) and wondered what she thought of the story.

It brought her to tears.

Gracie, who has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) told us that the average person with CRPS visits seven doctors before receiving a diagnosis—and she reminded me that is IF they actually get diagnosed.

Many go undiagnosed, are told it’s in their head, visit a psychiatrist.

Or, as Gracie pointed out, “they give up or worse”.

“In the pain realm, I have learned hard lessons. It’s extremely important to see a pain management specialist,” she said, saying that family practice doctors simply don’t have the experience or, often, the time to adequately treat chronic pain patients.

For Terri Lewis, Ph.D., another frequent contributor to the National Pain Report, who studies and teaches on the issue—the “it’s all in your head” syndrome is “dangerous and leads to no treatment, undertreatment, misdiagnosis.”

By the way, in case you want to know more, there is one group that is devoted to the issue of women in pain.

For Grace’s Women in Pain Project is an awareness and education campaign that aims to promote better wellness for women challenged by chronic pain and to bring to light the disparity they face in the assessment and treatment of their chronic pain.


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