Health Stories

When Pain Takes Over

Dr. Mattheus-Kairys recounts her years of chronic back pain due to a herniated disc, complications from surgery, and a spinal leak that occurred during her residency program. Throughout the next few years, Dr. Mattheus-Kairys discovers how to live with the pain and attempts a new activity that leads to a surprising friendship. For those living with chronic pain she offers several suggestions (e.g., listening to your body and also ignoring it, awareness of your limitations, adaptions to your daily practices) and provides an interesting historical perspective explaining why some clinicians lack empathy toward a patient’s pain. As a chronic pain patient herself, Dr. Mattheus-Kairys shares how her experiences have influenced the way she treats patients and informs us of the myriad of available tools and treatments beyond prescription narcotics.

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