Interviewer: I’m sure a lot of you out there know it well. You’re in mental pain, which causes physical pain which, in turn, causes more mental distress. It’s a vicious cycle. When does it end? Dr. Jorge Leal from Florida Pain Relief Group joins us now to talk more about this. Dr. Leal, great to have you here.
Dr. Leal: Thank you.
Interviewer: Oftentimes, when you have people come in that are just mentally and physical exhausted because of their pain, is it sometimes because of something that’s happening inside their minds?
Dr. Leal: It is very common that you see a lot of mental abnormalities in people who suffer with chronic pain. It is sometimes difficult to tell which one was first, but you have to definitely emphasize both aspects. The physical and emotional aspect of pain and suffering are intertwined. Not infrequently, people that suffer from chronic pain also suffer from sleeplessness. And if you don’t sleep well, your day does not go well and your pain can be intensified by the lack of sleep, lack of concentration, anxiety, causing a release of catecholamines which basically are adrenaline. Response to chronic stress can also make you more sensitive to pain, more susceptible to pain and it just, indeed, becomes a vicious cycle.
Interviewer: Can depression cause pain too?
Dr. Leal: It can intensify pain and sometimes it is associated with chronic pain, very commonly.
Interviewer: So what’s more important? Treating the mental side first or treating the physical side first?
Dr. Leal: Well, you have to treat both. One without the other will not be effective so you have to emphasize in treating both aspects of the pain experience, the psychological aspect and the physical aspects as well.
Interviewer: I’m curious to know how you go about that.
Dr. Leal: In our center, we have a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain and we identify, by certain psychometric tools that we have available, to gauge when is someone susceptible to psychological problems. We identify if they have any kind of depression or any other psychological condition that might interfere in the management of pain. And we identify it, and then we seek appropriate treatment in terms of referral to the appropriate mental health specialist, counseling and so forth.
Interviewer: I think it’s important that you mention a lack of sleep can cause all of these problems. That it’s not necessarily something wrong with your brain, it’s something physically that’s happening to you and then it’s affecting your whole body.
Dr. Leal: Absolutely. And as you will know, this is very common in our day of life. Lack of sleep is extremely common and has tremendous negative consequences in our health. It’s now becoming more and more talked about, and we have to deal with that. That being said, pharmacological treatments for insomnia are fraught with their own problems, including addiction to sleep aids. So a very good sleep hygiene is extremely important and we do emphasize that in our practice.
Interviewer: And you can help people get off the pills and figure out a great way to just remedy their sleep.
Dr. Leal: Indeed.
Interviewer: Okay. Good stuff. Dr. Leal, thank you very much. You can visit their website, or give them a call at 844-KICK-PAIN to schedule your same-day appointment. We’ll be right back with more Daytime, so don’t go away.