Seeking chronic pain treatment facility
February 12, 2007 6:11 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend's mother has suffered from a variety of chronic pain issues for roughly 15 years and is in the process of trying to find a facility that is best suited to her needs.

At the moment, her main issue is TMJD, accompanied by severe fibromyalgia, digestive problems, recurring candida, and what some doctors have suggested is Sjogren's syndrome. Needless to say, this is all accompanied by severe depression.

In the past she has been an outpatient at the Mayo Clinic (Florida and Minnesota) as well as an inpatient at the Johns Hopkins Chronic Pain Treatment Program. She lives in a fairly isolated part of Florida, and as such, her access to specialists is limited. Nevertheless, she has traveled extensively to work with jaw specialists, endocrinologists, rheumetologists, and has tried a wide variety of alternative and complementary medicine including massage, myofacial release, rolfing, reiki, aromatherapy, all sorts of natural supplements, yoga, and meditation (she has a strong connection to Buddhism). None provide her much relief.

The several month regimen of detox and physical/occupational therapy at Hopkins made an improvement on her pain level, emotional state and stamina, but it was short lived, lasting for only a few months after her stay there ended. She also felt that their approach was too clinical and narrow for the complex web of problems she has. What she's looking for at this point is a place that has the medical credibility and technology for safe diagnosis and detoxification (she takes a few pain medications and an antidepressant, all to very limited effect), a strong emphasis on alternative/complementary medicine, and an approach that can address the depression (as well as other emotional issues) associated with chronic pain. On the other hand, she's concerned about the lack of standards at certain cure-all spiritual detox centers outside of the U.S. The fact that many of those places don't take insurance is also an issue. My boyfriend's mother and father aren't poor, but a place that takes insurance is highly desirable. Traveling is also taxing on her, so she's looking for places within North America. However, all options, both on and off the continent are welcome.

She's working to address the depression, but again, the resources where she lives are limited. We'd like to keep the discussion focused on the treatment options rather than the validity of her sypmtoms and previous diagnoses.
posted by bilabial to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've heard that refined sugar is the diet of candida. So, as a starting point, get rid of anything with refined sugar in her diet. I know that doesn't answer your question, but it may be a starting point for at least one ailment.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:44 AM on February 12, 2007

My mother also had chronic pain, diagnosed as polymyalgia rheumatica, greatly complicated by her borderline personality disorder. (I am not saying that your boyfriend's mother is "crazy," by the way.) My mother did well only when when she stuck with a doctor she liked and followed his/her regimen.
posted by Carol Anne at 7:14 AM on February 12, 2007

I would have her check out EVERYTHING by Dr. John Sarno. He's saved many a life.
posted by sneakin at 7:52 AM on February 12, 2007

My heart goes out to you and your boyfriend's mother. Her problem is unfortunately now as common as it is incredibly difficult to manage and treat. Based on her interests, I would recommend considering the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. However I don't think they have any inpatient treatment services, and I'm not sure you're going to have any luck in that regard when it comes to finding a reliable place with a multidisciplinary approach. But perhaps the folks at UCLA might be able to refer you somewhere else.

For what it's worth, I've heard others praise Dr. Sarno as above, but I personally don't know much about him.
posted by drpynchon at 7:59 AM on February 12, 2007

What exactly is she "detoxing" from? Unless she's withdrawing from drugs, I'm not familiar with "detox" as a medical procedure.
posted by footnote at 8:44 AM on February 12, 2007

Response by poster: You know, I'm not sure what pain meds and anti-depressants she's currently taking. But it seems that they aren't working, and she'd like to get them out of her system.
posted by bilabial at 1:01 PM on February 12, 2007

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