Episode #22 Mind-Body Approaches to Understanding and Healing Chronic Pain with Howard Schubiner, MD

Body of Wonder Podcast

Living with chronic pain can be both physically and emotionally challenging. Nearly 50 million individuals in the US report experiencing chronic pain. The symptoms may become worse over time, spread to new areas of the body, and result in restricted mobility and limitations in daily activities.

Evolving research has demonstrated that for some sufferers emotions can be the source of chronic pain and may be the key to treating the symptoms. Studies have demonstrated that identifying, expressing, and releasing difficult emotions, like fear, can successfully reduce chronic pain. 

Our guest is Dr. Howard Schubiner, an internist, pediatrician, and director of the Mind Body Medicine Center. Dr. Schubiner and his colleagues have developed psychological treatments for chronic pain and created a series of studies to evaluate these treatments.

In this episode, Dr. Schubiner helps us to see pain with a new lens. He explains how chronic pain can be protective.  He describes how brain-generated pain is different from structural pain.

Dr. Weil and Dr. Schubiner discuss the revolutionary work of the late Dr. John Sarno, a pioneer in treating patients with chronic back pain with mind-body medicine. Dr. Maizes describes how language and common approaches can reinforce a message of disease and perpetuate symptoms. Dr. Schubiner explains how pain reprocessing therapy can help to eliminate and even cure pain and why this therapy offers great hope to people who live with chronic pain.

Please note, the show will not advise, diagnose, or treat medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider for questions regarding your health.

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Andrew Weil, MD and Victoria Maizes, MD


Howard Schubiner , MD

Dr. Howard Schubiner is an internist and pediatrician, who attained the rank of full Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1999. He is an internist and the director of the Mind Body Medicine Center at Ascension Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan. He is a Clinical Professor at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and is a fellow in the American College of Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has authored more than 100 publications in scientific journals and books, and lectures regionally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Schubiner has consulted for the American Medical Association, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Mental Health. Dr. Schubiner is the author of three books: Unlearn Your Pain, Unlearn Your Anxiety and Depression, and Hidden From View, written with Dr. Allan Abbass. He has collaborated extensively with Mark Lumley, PhD, a Professor of Psychology at Wayne State University in a series of studies to develop psychological treatments for chronic pain. They developed Emotion Awareness and Expression Therapy (EAET), which has been tested in various formats for people with different chronic pain conditions and found to be not only effective compared to treatment as usual but superior to CBT in two trials. EAET is now listed as a treatment option in the 2019 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Pain Management Best Practices Inter-agency Task Force Report. Dr. Schubiner lives in the Detroit area with his wife of thirty-seven years and has two adult children.
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