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A Neurologist’s Perspective on Chronic Pain

This interview is from the Like Mind, Like Body podcast. You can listen to the full interview below, on iTunes or Google Podcasts.


Dr. Dario Zagar is no stranger to chronic pain. In addition to treating it in his office every day, he’s experienced symptoms like migraine and back pain in his own life.

Today, Dr. Zagar is an associate professor at Yale and a practicing neurologist, and he is determined to help people with pain find the same relief that he did.

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An excerpt from the episode:

Laura (Host): What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding about mindbody strategies and their ability to help people heal?

Dr. Dario Zagar: The single biggest misconception is this dichotomy between structural and non-structural. Which I think for many people is the difference between real and not real. So the biggest misconception is that you either have real pain, which is structural, or you have not-real symptoms, which are not structural. It’s important to understand that there is no dichotomy, that all pain is real, that the brain has incredible power over what we feel and what we experience in our body, and that there really is no difference in the pain people have in terms of how real it is or whether it's severe or not. It is this bias against those concepts that I think is still a stumbling block.

There's been a lot more media attention to mind body concepts, but inevitably you go into the comments thread and you'll have some people who are saying, “this is great, this has help me,” and then you'll get a long list of people who think, “well maybe it helped them, but it can't help me because I have X, Y, and Z.” There's always this undercurrent of resentment that's going on there and I think that in some cases that is still the stumbling block. It’s important to help people recognize that these are real problems, that the brain can produce physiologic changes in the body that are just as real as any other changes and that they have to be treated in a particular way.

[this is an excerpt only - for the full episode, listen to the podcast above]

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