[Chronic muscular pain is not unexplainable.]

Author: Malterud K.
Conference/Journal: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen.
Date published: 2010 Dec 2
Other: Volume ID: 130 , Issue ID: 23 , Pages: 2356-2359 , Special Notes: [Article in Norwegian] , Word Count: 208

Background. Patients with chronic muscular pain suffer from extensive symptoms although test results are normal. Symptoms considered as «unexplained» are not necessarily unexplainable. Recent research provides relevant frameworks for understanding the interaction of bodily and mental processes and life conditions. Such perspectives can be used as a point of departure for understanding and change of conditions shaping vulnerability and resistance. Material and methods. The article presents a summary of theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and clinical experience, with a discussion of how this body of knowledge can be applied in clinical practice. Results. Distress can lead to dysregulation through spinal sensitization and sustained arousal. Psychoneuroimmunology describes how subjective experience, emotions, cognitive functions, the nervous system and physiological stress reactions interact to restore balance through complex signal systems. Responses are influenced by emotional and cognitive processes, dependent on individual vulnerability and strength. Phenomenology focuses on life circumstances, meaning, and interpretation of bodily signals. Through acknowledging patients' experiences doctors can shift the attention from shame to coping. Interpretation. Chronic muscular pain can be explained by the interaction between body, mind and life circumstances. Searching for simple causalities and consistent findings will provide no benefit. Instead, we should encourage coping strategies with the capacity of breaking vicious circles that maintain symptoms.

PMID: 21139661