New pain study offers hope for Lady Gaga, others with fibromyalgia

Recently, Netflix released the documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” an intimate look at the iconic musician’s struggle to record “Joanne,” her fifth and most personal studio album, while battling the relatively common but mysterious chronic pain condition fibromyalgia.

Women are two times more likely to be affected by fibromyalgia than men, but healthcare providers are less likely to take women’s pain seriously, often dismissing fibromyalgia symptoms – including bodywide stiffness, fatigue, tingling, numbness, digestive upset, and migraines – as purely psychological or even attention-seeking. Others insist the condition is excruciatingly real.

In a column for The Atlantic, titled “Lady Gaga’s Illness Is Not a Metaphor,” Spencer Kornhaber defends the musical artist’s suffering, writing “a poorly understood but widespread disorder that seems to inordinately affect women, fibromyalgia is sometimes assumed to be psychosomatic.”

“Psychosomatic” is colloquially understood to mean “fictitious.” Most people believe psychosomatic illness is purely a figment of the imagination – that psychosomatic pain, in other words, is not real in the body. But the word “psychosomatic,” defined simply as “involving both mind and body,” pertains to the full spectrum of physical and mental illnesses, because all physical illnesses have a psychological component (consider Broken Heart Syndrome or the statistically higher rate of clinical depression in cancer patients) and vice versa.

New research suggests that fibromyalgia pain is psychosomatic; the harrowing sensation is very real in the body, but it can be incited by emotional trauma, much like the grief and betrayal Lady Gaga expressed in “Five Foot Two.” That’s because, according to Dr. Howard Schubiner, founder and director of the Mind-Body Medicine Center at Providence Hospital, the brain handles physical and emotional pain the same way.

“We know there are two things that trigger pain neuropathways. One is tissue damage and the other is emotions that activate the exact same pain processes in the brain as physical injury,” he told PhillyVoice.

Schubiner says that pain is always caused by one of these two things or a combination of both. But, since there is usually no tissue damage involved in fibromyalgia, dealing with emotions that trigger what he calls the brain’s “danger-alarm mechanism” is often the only effective way to relieve the pain, especially when other physical, pharmaceutical, and even psychological interventions have failed, as they often do. The ineffectiveness of these treatments is on full display in “Five Foot Two.” Lady Gaga, a celebrity millionaire with infinite conventional and alternative treatment modalities at her disposal, is still in constant pain.

“I just think about other people that have maybe something like this that are struggling to figure out what it is and they don’t have the money to have somebody help them,” she laments, while receiving what appears to be some type of chiropractic manipulation in a scene from “Five Foot Two.”

“Like I don’t know what I’d f***ing do if I didn’t have everybody here to help me,” she sighs, writhing in agony on a chaise lounge. She’s receiving help but it’s clearly not helping her.

A NEW APPROACH

Schubiner, a pioneer in the field of mindbody medicine and the author of “Unlearn Your Pain,” proposes a new, much less invasive treatment approach called EAET, or Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy. He recently published a study in “Pain, The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain,” which highlights the success of the treatment, especially compared to CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

PHOTO BY CHERYL THRUSHMAN/ASCENSION HEALTHDr. Howard Schubiner says many people’s physical pain is due to the way we’re conditioned to think about – and suppress – our emotions.

EAET consists of first educating patients about the link between emotional and physical pain as well as how physical and emotional pain are handled similarly in the brain. Practitioners ask patients to reflect on the times they’ve endured emotional pain and explore the relationship they’ve seen in their lives

between their emotional and physical pain, which, Schubiner notes, is often significant.
“We’re basically working with the emotions of anger, guilt, sadness, compassion, and, of course, fear. Often, these emotions are not recognized, acknowledged, expressed, or processed. So we give patients exercises to do just that.”

Recently, Netflix released the documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” an intimate look at the iconic musician’s struggle to record “Joanne,” her fifth and most personal studio album, while battling the relatively common but mysterious chronic pain condition fibromyalgia.

Women are two times more likely to be affected by fibromyalgia than men, but healthcare providers are less likely to take women’s pain seriously, often dismissing fibromyalgia symptoms – including bodywide stiffness, fatigue, tingling, numbness, digestive upset, and migraines – as purely psychological or even attention-seeking. Others insist the condition is excruciatingly real.

MORE HEALTH COVERAGE
St. Christopher’s nurse and family make a splash for special needs children
Study: Suburban living linked to higher rates of obesity
Study: Do ride-share apps help cut drunk driving accidents?
In a column for The Atlantic, titled “Lady Gaga’s Illness Is Not a Metaphor,” Spencer Kornhaber defends the musical artist’s suffering, writing “a poorly understood but widespread disorder that seems to inordinately affect women, fibromyalgia is sometimes assumed to be psychosomatic.”
“Psychosomatic” is colloquially understood to mean “fictitious.” Most people believe psychosomatic illness is purely a figment of the imagination – that psychosomatic pain, in other words, is not real in the body. But the word “psychosomatic,” defined simply as “involving both mind and body,” pertains to the full spectrum of physical and mental illnesses, because all physical illnesses have a psychological component (consider Broken Heart Syndrome or the statistically higher rate of clinical depression in cancer patients) and vice versa.

New research suggests that fibromyalgia pain is psychosomatic; the harrowing sensation is very real in the body, but it can be incited by emotional trauma, much like the grief and betrayal Lady Gaga expressed in “Five Foot Two.” That’s because, according to Dr. Howard Schubiner, founder and director of the Mind-Body Medicine Center at Providence Hospital, the brain handles physical and emotional pain the same way.

“We know there are two things that trigger pain neuropathways. One is tissue damage and the other is emotions that activate the exact same pain processes in the brain as physical injury,” he told PhillyVoice.

Schubiner says that pain is always caused by one of these two things or a combination of both. But, since there is usually no tissue damage involved in fibromyalgia, dealing with emotions that trigger what he calls the brain’s “danger-alarm mechanism” is often the only effective way to relieve the pain, especially when other physical, pharmaceutical, and even psychological interventions have failed, as they often do. The ineffectiveness of these treatments is on full display in “Five Foot Two.” Lady Gaga, a celebrity millionaire with infinite conventional and alternative treatment modalities at her disposal, is still in constant pain.

“I just think about other people that have maybe something like this that are struggling to figure out what it is and they don’t have the money to have somebody help them,” she laments, while receiving what appears to be some type of chiropractic manipulation in a scene from “Five Foot Two.”
“Like I don’t know what I’d f***ing do if I didn’t have everybody here to help me,” she sighs, writhing in agony on a chaise lounge. She’s receiving help but it’s clearly not helping her.

A NEW APPROACH
Schubiner, a pioneer in the field of mindbody medicine and the author of “Unlearn Your Pain,” proposes a new, much less invasive treatment approach called EAET, or Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy. He recently published a study in “Pain, The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain,” which highlights the success of the treatment, especially compared to CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

 

Source: http://www.phillyvoice.com/new-pain-study-offers-hope-lady-gaga-other-victims-fibromyalgia/

 

 

Share This

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*