Murray J. McAllister, PsyD
Murray J. McAllister, PsyD, is a pain psychologist and consults to health systems on improving pain. He is the editor and founder of the Institute for Chronic Pain (ICP). The ICP is an educational and public policy think tank. In its mission is to lead the field in making pain management more empirically supported, the ICP provides academic quality information on chronic pain that is approachable to patients and their families.
What is degenerative disc disease?
Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common diagnoses for people with back pain. The diagnosis is often alarming to patients. It sounds terrible. It sounds like they have a disease that is deteriorating the discs in their spine. It also sounds like it’s inevitably going to get worse. These reactions to the diagnosis are common.
What is conversion disorder?
A conversion disorder is a nerve-related condition that is due to psychological stress or trauma. While not fully understood, the symptoms develop in response to stress or trauma that lead to intolerable conflict. The psychological cause may occur in one instance or on a repetitive basis prior to onset of symptoms. Onset of this type of nerve-related symptom can occur immediately after the stressor or trauma, or it can occur after a delay of many years.
What is chronic back pain?
Back pain affects most everyone at some point. At any given time, 25% of the population will have had low back pain in the previous three months. It is one of the most common reasons for medical visits.1, 2 Fortunately, the vast majority of cases of new back pain will resolve within a few weeks to months.3
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
In general, arthritis is a common pain condition marked by inflammation of the joints. The inflammation causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Such inflammation is largely common to all types of arthritis.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis. It is a pain condition marked by inflammation of the joints. The inflammation causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint of the body.
What is arachnoiditis?
Arachnoiditis is a rare neurological condition marked by inflammation of the arachnoid. The arachnoid is a lining that surrounds the central nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. In most cases, patients seeking pain management services for arachnoiditis have the condition along the spinal cord.
What is chronic abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain is common and occurs to most people on occasion. It usually occurs for a brief period of time and can have many benign causes, such as indigestion, stress and anxiety. Sometimes, such as when having appendicitis, it is serious and requires the attention of a healthcare provider. Abdominal pain can also become chronic. Healthcare providers consider it chronic when it last longer than six months.
People outside the healthcare industry, such as the typical consumers of healthcare, are often surprised to find out that some of the most common healthcare procedures and therapies are largely ineffective on average. It can sometimes even border on disbelief. When seeking healthcare, most people assume that the treatments healthcare providers recommend are effective. This assumption forms a basic trust in our healthcare providers – that they know what they are doing and that they wouldn’t recommend something that they know is ineffective. So, it seems hard to believe that a provider might ever recommend treatments that have been shown to be ineffective on average.
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