One of the oddest things I’ve found over the years are patients who assume their aches and pains are “in their head”. Many frustrated patients have even been told by a doctor that their pain was “in their head.” I find it disturbing. The following recent example is what got me thinking about this. A patient has an active, intelligent 10-year-old son. In the fall, after football season, he began complaining of a pain in the spine that burned, turned into a headache and even radiated around to his groin and into his legs. It got more severe after the boy snow-shoveled. Naturally the parents were shaken and had him seen by all kinds of doctors and had all kinds of tests taken, including MRI’s, blood tests and visits to specialists. At first blush, to me, the symptoms sound very related to a mechanical problem. But ruling out disease processes was definitely warranted. He was checked for spinal cord conditions and bone cancer. The final straw for this boy’s Mom, however, came when the boy was at the neurologist’s office. The neurologist recommended the boy take an anti-depressant! The doctor told the alarmed mom that it was only a small dose, not the same dose as when a person has emotional upset. The doctor had no explanation as to why an anti-depressant was the correct course of action for musculoskeletal pain that clearly began after a football trauma. I applaud the mom and her frame of mind to outright refuse the neurologist’s psychotropic drug recommendation which would do nothing more than subdue her son. Instead, she called our office that very day and got her son on the schedule. After his first adjustment, he immediately noticed he could stand up better; his balance was better; his headache was lessening; he could tuck his head to his chest without severe pain in his upper back. But so many people go on believing their pain IS in their head; they may not know what else to do and they may not question taking mind-altering drugs because, after all, that’s what the doctor ordered! Even a college friend of mine was recommended anti-depressants after she complained to her doctor of pre-menopausal symptoms. How about looking at hormonal balances? Or changing birth control prescriptions? Or trying some herbs? Anything ELSE first? So my warning is to those of you who sit in your doctor’s office, feeling humble because you do not have a doctor’s degree: do not let some doctor freely prescribe you or a loved one a psychotropic drug. Once you start, you’re never supposed to come off. Instead, find that loved one an ABC™ doctor who can help them once and for all, as long as their problem isn’t due to fractures, infections, tumors or drug side-effects. And find out once and for all that the pain ISN’T in their head!