This patient was lucky to find and undergo treatment at an interdisciplinary pain clinic, where his depression and anxiety were treated with individual, family and psychoeducational group therapy; his high autonomic arousal with biofeedback; his poor body mechanics, deconditioning, poor body alignment and image with physical therapy and biofeedback. Within about eight weeks his pain was reduced from a 3 to a 2, his suffering was resolved and he had become socially and physically active again. A big milestone for him was resuming his bi-weekly barber shop singing.
Treating patients like this person requires the coordinated efforts of psychologists, physicians, physical therapists, acupuncturists, etc., at interdisciplinary clinics. Sadly, biofeedback is a pillar of interdisciplinary pain clinics that is rarely offered.
It is almost impossible for a patient to watch their muscle tension increase whilst talking about their pain and not accept that they have some control over their own body. The patient mentioned above had spent his entire working life literally with rocket scientists at NASA and was amazed at how easily his body readings (EMG, pulse, brain waves, peripheral blood flow, etc.) changed whilst talking about his suffering, or improved when doing a relaxation exercise. He could not refute the data showing that he has the ability to change his body. Although skeptical at first, he gradually acquired a sense of empowerment that replaced his helplessness and thinking that only medications and surgery could help.
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