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I am a wife, mother, non-surgical musculoskeletal physician, and author of The Eden Diet and Radical Well-being

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Q&A With Doctor Rita: "Tell me about you and your approach to pain management."

Q&A with Dr. Rita: "Tell me about you and your approach to Pain Management." 

Brief bio: Dr. Rita Hancock is a pain management sub-specialist physician and an author of Christian health and wellness books. She is the Oklahoma state representative in the House of Representatives of the Christian Medical and Dental Association, a contributor to various Christian and secular magazines, a Christian TV and radio personality in the area of health matters (including venues like TBN’s Doctor to Doctor, CBN’s 700 Club Interactive, and K-love radio’s Closer Look), and a wife as well as a mother of two wonderful teenagers.

Q:  Tell us about you and your medical practice, Dr. Rita:

A: There are two main things that I want you to know about how I practice medicine. First, as a Christian and a medical doctor, I wholeheartedly believe that our physical health can be impacted by spiritual and emotional factors. And, second, even though I’m a pain management sub-specialist, I don’t generally prescribe narcotics for pain control, except in rare situations. I like using manual medicine, non-narcotic medicines and injections, and emotional counseling, where appropriate.

Q: Do you ever find true, physical causes for pain that other doctors miss, or do you focus on the emotional and spiritual issues first?

A: I almost NEVER talk to patients about emotional or spiritual issues right away. My particular area of gifting...and advanced medical training... is to find the physical pain-causing diagnoses that may have been missed by other clinicians. I'm talking about true, physical pain generators like "trigger points" (knots in the muscles) and alignment/soft-tissue injuries that physical therapists call "mechanical dysfunction" and osteopathic specialists call "somatic dysfunction." In regard to the emotional and spiritual issues...yes...absolutely....they can make pain worse and aggravate the underlying PHYSICAL pain problem. Sometimes, talking about these issues just flows naturally out of the doctor-patient relationship  as I begin to help the patients’ PHYSICAL pain. Patients just open up when they see they can trust me and that I believe them. 

Q: What do you think about treating physical problems through emotional and spiritual intervention?

A: I think it can be an excellent part of the overall program. It might even be the most helpful part of the program, depending on the individual. But it’s not the whole program. Step one is always to make sure your patient doesn’t have a serious medical condition. Step two is to deliver bona fide medical treatment, whether that means diagnostic testing, medicine, shots, or surgery. And (the most important) step three is to NEVER, EVER push your faith on a patient. Either wait for the patient to bring it up, or toss in questions like, "Do you have a faith-base that offers you support?" to see if the patient even wants to "go there." 

Q: What kind of pains and illnesses would you call “stress-induced”?

A: My gosh….the list includes (are you sitting down?) fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, temporomandibular joint pain, neck pain, shoulder blade pain, back pain, knots in the muscles (aka myofascial pain syndrome), irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, food intolerances, interstitial cystitis, menstrual irregularities, unwanted weight gain or weight loss, hair loss, shingles outbreaks, hives, other rashes, difficulty concentrating, emotional disorders, panic attacks, stress-induced allergic reactions, etc. etc. etc. Nearly anyone who experiences any of these conditions could potentially benefit from hearing what I have to say.

Q: When did you first make the connection between physical wellness and spiritual wellness?

A: It wasn’t until a few years into my practice. It took experience! When I was a younger doctor, if I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with a patient, I assumed the problem was on my end. “If only I knew more, maybe I’d be able to figure out the problem.” But, as the years went by, I realized that the perception of pain is MUCH more complex than meets the eye. In many cases, patients harbor emotional and/or spiritual issues like anger, unforgiveness, guilt, shame, anxiety, and depression that make their physical pains feel worse. For example, people who are tense hunch their shoulders upward, practically next to their ears, putting extra tension on their neck and middle back muscles. What makes them tense? Sometimes, it’s because, deep-down, they believe lies about themselves, like “I’m bad,” “It’s my fault,” “I’m dirty,” or “I’m bad just like my bad parents.” So….voila! Your beliefs and feelings of anxiety, guilt, etc., translate into PHYSICAL pain-producing postures and tension. Add these emotions to true, past physical injuries, and, in many cases, you get intractable chronic pain.

Q: Tell us about your first book.

A: My first book is called The Eden Diet, and it’s about how to lose weight by eating when you’re physically (not emotionally) hungry. It’s also about turning to God instead of food when you get in those emotional moods. I know about this subject first-hand because I grew up morbidly obese but then lost 75 pounds and have kept it off almost 30 years. I also studied nutrition and obesity psychology at Cornell University. Readers can find out more about my diet program via www.TheEdenDiet.com. If they want a free report that helps them break free from emotional eating, all they have to do is click on the blinking “break free” button at the bottom right of the website’s home page. They should get the free report within a day or two via email. I also published a workbook to go with The Eden Diet. It’s called The Eden Diet Workbook and is available widely.

Q: What are the most important messages you would like for the readers of your books to grasp?

A: If you’ve been to a bazillion doctors and nobody can figure out why you hurt or why you keep suffering with chronic illness, read my book, Radical Well-being: A Biblical Guide to Overcoming Pain, Illness, and Addictions . My prayer is that I can at least help you cut your symptoms in half (or better). And if you want to lose weight without all the impossible-to-stick-to rules and regulations that come with traditional dieting, pick up my books, The Eden Diet and The Eden Diet Workbook.

Q: How can readers learn more about you, or read your blog writing?

A: You can find out more about my material via these links:
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  1. Thanks for sharing this great post. It’s very enlightening.You are doing very good job to relieve peoples from pain. I absolutely love your stuff. Looking forward to find out more and acquire further knowledge.
    Los Angeles Pain Management

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Do you treat conditions other than neuromusculoskeletal problems that have a mechanical origin? And how much experience do you have treating my particular condition? Thanks in advance, Please write me back.

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