Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Mind-Body Connection in General Health

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Dec 12, 2012 6:43 PM

A friend of mine, though it could well have been dozens of patients over the year, went to her doc with jaw pain, as well as arm, face and chest pain. After bunches of tests, she was diagnosed with vitamen and mineral deficiencies, which can be remedied. Her heart is fine. Her jaw is tight from stress. No doctor talked with her about all the stresses in her life, related to her husband's illness, or suggested relaxation procedures .I told her to breathe slowly and deeply, meditate, circulate relaxation throughout her mind and body. We discussed it for awhile, jaw tension included, with the addition of a night guard to cut grinding. She'll follow through. It will help.

Why is it that medical doctors rarely acknowledge the psychosomatic factors involved in many bodily symptoms, from headache to digestion to backache? They are quick to prescribe, even for adjustment disorders and grief, for which such meds as anti-depressants are inappropriate. They are quick to order expensive tests. Better to rule out a variety of physical issues. However, why not address the common, everyday psychological factors, realizing that psychological stresses potentlyeffect the body? Those factors are way more common than the major mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, or even OCD or anxiety disorder.

So, my answer is to alert patients and doctors to pay more attention to the whole person, that person's regular life circumstances and personality, and any unusual stresses. There are just a few questions to ask, such as the state of health and mind of family members, work or financial pressures, past or present abuse, and worries for the near future.

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