I met a wonderful woman a few weeks ago who was suffering from severe spine problems. She was a successful small business owner who had been able to retire a few years ago in her early 60’s. She had family support and spent time helping out small non-profit corporations. Life should have been good except her retirement was being taken from her by chronic pain and weakness in her legs. Her whole body seemed on fire and her legs seemed so unsteady that she chose to get around in a wheelchair.
Bone spurs were pinching the nerves in her lower back and she would eventually require surgery to free them up to solve her leg weakness. However low back surgery wouldn’t solve her total body pain.
We had an energized conversation about the DOCC project and how her generalized pain was solvable with non-surgical methods. In spite of her limitations she was very engaging and open.
Her Insight into Pain
In the course of the conversation she made a statement that is the main point of this article. As I briefly explained the link between pain, anxiety, and anger she made a comment, “Over the last 18 months I have become very short with those who are close to me. I becoming the person I never wanted to be. I used to be warm and giving and I am now self-centered.”
Charter for Compassion
I am a partner in the “Charter for Compassion”. It is an international non-profit organization founded by a renowned theologian, Karen Armstrong. It is committed to furthering compassion in every venue possible and is moving quickly. There is a major obstacle though that I feel the world must address before meaningful progress can be made. It is anxiety-fueled anger. Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
The Capacity for Compassion
116 million people in the US alone have chronic pain. Pain is connected to anxiety and anger and the combination is intense. When you are fighting through these three demons on a daily, even minute by minute, basis you do not have the capacity to consistently reach out to others. Although you are deeply committed to being compassionate you are being emotionally consumed. You can’t throw out a life vest when you are drowning.
Make the Right Diagnosis!!
Chronic pain, anxiety, and anger are amongst the many manifestations of the Mind Body Syndrome (MBS) and is eminently treatable. It is one of the few medical conditions that will respond with complete resolution of symptoms with minimal costs.
The first step in treating any disease is to make the correct diagnosis. The medical profession is failing in that MBS is not widely recognized or accepted as a valid diagnosis. Historically that would include me until I personally experienced the resolution of 16 MBS symptoms. I watch my patients’ symptoms disappear every week.
For example, migraine headaches are a classic MBS symptom that disappears with the correct treatment. Billions of dollars are spent annually treating just the headaches.
I don’t know how Dr. John Sarno figured this out in the 1980’s but he nailed it. He held out a treatment paradigm on what he termed the “Tension Myositis Syndrome” (TMS). MBS is the more current term.
I realize that I am wandering a bit but let me become clear.
- Chronic pain, anxiety, and anger are linked. They are all MBS symptoms.
- Modern medicine is failing to make the correct diagnosis of MBS.
- Untreated, the symptoms are progressive and destructive.
- Deep compassion is impossible in the face of MBS.
- Undiagnosed MBS is taking the soul of our country.
Subsequently our society is currently being eroded by:
- Skyrocketing medical costs of ineffective treatments
- Families disrupted by pain, anger, and abuse
- Deteriorating mental health
Our National Politics
What about the role of MBS in our current angry and reactive national politics? Angry people are not rational. Camaraderie and collaboration are impossible. How can you see past anger to the real issues?
The root cause of our ineffective national politics is untreated MBS.
We Are in a Crisis and Headed the Wrong Direction
Modern medicine has to figure this out NOW!! Effective treatments are available. Our way of life is at stake and it is a public health issue. The world needs us and the US to heal.
Are you the person that you want to be?