Chronic Pain Mr. Thomas Thornberry and Dr. Erica Adams

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 Tonight’s guests are Mr. Thomas Thornberry and Dr. Erica Adams


Thomas is a behavioral medicine specialist who earned his master’s
degree in clinical psychology at Morehead State University in 1997,
and a second master’s degree in public administration at Eastern
Kentucky University in 2013.  His professional interests are in health
and wellness practices, as well as the psychology of leisure.  Thomas
has worked extensively with medical patients, mostly those with
chronic pain, since 2001.  He currently provides pain-counseling
services at HealthPoint Associates.  He also writes a monthly magazine
column for Health Beat Magazine in Richmond, called Mental Morsels.

Planned topics of discussion:

  • Let’s start with defining the condition.  What do we mean when we say “chronic pain?”
  • Patients often say that their doctor has told them “you’ll just have to learn to live with the pain.”  Does that mean the patient is doomed to suffer the rest of his or her life?
  • Is it possible to die from pain?
  • Where do you think traditional medical practice has fallen the most short when it comes to helping people with pain?
  • What are some examples of “iatrogenesis,” of patients getting the wrong message from their doctor?
  • Are there people whose pain is “all in their heads?”
  • So is that why doctors refer patients to see counselors, when their problem is pain?
  • If a patient has had every medication imaginable and a ton of surgeries, how talking supposed to help?
  • How can anyone who doesn’t have pain possible understand what it’s like?
  • What kind of services can patients expect when they come to a behavioral medicine specialist?  What do you do with them?
  • How can spouses and families get involved in helping someone with pain?

Dr. Erica Adams

Dr. Erica Adams received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Louisville. Currently, she works as a health and counseling psychologist with Bluegrass Health Psychology in Lexington, KY. She is pursuing board certification in Health Psychology, and her special interest areas include chronic pelvic pain and gastrointestinal disorders.

Planned topics of discussion:

  • 1. What role does a health psychologist play in helping someone with pain?
  • 2. Does a health psychologist work with the patient’s other providers?
  • 3. You mentioned ‘biofeedback.’ What is that?
  • 4. What are some of the other coping strategies you teach patients?
  • 5. What are some of the effects of living with chronic pain?
  • 6. I imagine it also affects one’s family. What do you know about this?
  • 7. What kind of chronic pain conditions do you commonly see?
  • 8. What are some tips you can provide our listeners who are living with chronic pain?
  • 9. Do you work with people who are interested in getting off of or reducing their use of narcotics/pain medications?
  • 10. What are some of the reasons people end up wanting to stop those medications?

Related Links:

American Chronic Pain Society

American Pain Society

Chronic Pain  (wiki article)

Facts and figures on Pain  (American Academy of Pain Medicine)

National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association

Pain Management  (wiki article)

Pain Management and Prescription Drugs  (useful info re undermedication in the USA)

Pelvic Pain  (wiki article)

Diversion of Pharmaceutical Drugs  (useful and interesting article)

Title 21 United States Code (USC) Controlled Substances Act


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