Headaches and Pain
Dr. Eva Fisher D. Ed., C. Psych
It’s upsetting to go to your family doctor for help with headaches, or any pain, and to be told that there is no obvious cause or medical reason for them. You might consider seeing another doctor, only to hear similar conclusions. Since the headache (or pain) feels real, why can’t doctors find a “real” cause or fix for it?
The fact is that psychological pain can feel just as real as physiological pain, only the cause cannot be found by standard medical testing such as X-ray/MRI or other imaging technologies. It can be additionally frustrating that in many cases, pain medications help little, if at all.
If you are provided with a referral to a psychologist with training in psychotherapy for medically unexplained symptoms, you may have found new hope for a solution.
A new field of treatment, called Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, or ISTDP, is re-visiting the relationship between emotion suppression and pain. Psychiatrists working in this area have determined that psychological or emotional issues may indeed be implicated in symptoms of headaches, as well as back pain and digestive disorders.
If you or someone you know suffers from unexplained medical symptoms, it may be helpful to schedule an appointment with a psychologist with training in ISTDP.
Dr Eva Fisher is a clinical psychologist with ISTDP training, in private practice located at 436 Gilmour St., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.