How to study for the MCAT when you have chronic pain?

I am a 24-year-old graduated student and currently am studying for the mcat. I got diagnosed with muscle-tension related headache in 12/2017 after many weeks of headaches along with severe tension in the trapezius and shoulders. I had to cease my studying and started again last week. have tried my best to transform this condition into a positive outcome by starting to shadow pain medicine doctors soon, doing yoga, and hopefully being able to teach yoga to undeserved patients with chronic pain in my free time too. I thought the condition started getting better, but 2 days ago, I got a major tension in my entire back down to my knee that i could barely walk and felt so fatigue. The reality of this condition really makes me doubt my physical ability to perform as well as I would like to.

I am an active, energetic, resilient person and I cannot see myself doing anything else aside from becoming a doctor. I also considered other fields in medicine (such as PA), but I know I’ll regret that one day or will find a way to go back to medical school. However, this condition is the toughest thing that I have ever encountered in my entire life. If any medical student or doctor here is dealing with chronic pain, can you please advise me how you have been able to and were able to adapt to the rigors of medical school, especially the third year, and then residency? I have been thoroughly researching everything, yet there’s not much on medical students/doctors with chronic conditions (There are only some articles about doctors with chronic pain complaining about the lack of support and understanding from their colleagues and faculties and the medical system and advices about doing something else instead)

If you know any medical student or doctor who is dealing with this, can you please connect me with those people (of course, with their agreement ? I’m just very at loss, and just really need some help. Thank you so much!

Transform your physical pain into something else.

Have you heard of TMS or John Sarno, MD? TMS may be the source of your pain. If you have not found any releief, I suggest looking for a TMS provider in your area. There is also an app called Curable which is very thorough in explaining everthing about TMS. I went to several physicians and tried several modalities to releive my pain, yet nothing was successful.

For studying, I studied premed classes with severe pain. Ive grown accustomed to my pain and was able to study through it (though it may have affected my grades). The stress of school may add to the pain.

Hi i’m sorry for such a late reply. didn’t know my reply to you never got sent. Thank you so much for replying back to me and sharing with me about your experiences and Dr.Sarnos whom I looked up and seems to be very well known and loved among the chronic pain community. have you tried the Curable app? and if Yes, do you like it? i really like the CEO’s podcast. Also are you a medical student and how have you been able to structure your life and studying around the condition? How long have you had this condition and is it getting worse over the years? i wrote this post after my first major flare up and haven’t experienced it anything like that since then aside from tension in my back and occasional headache around my left eye. Yoga and acceptance of the pain have greatly helped relieve my pain, along with intensive cardio muscle strengthening workout in the morning every day.

I went thru premed, med school and all but last year of residency with chronic pain from spinal stenosis (mild to moderate at some levels, moderate to severe at others), which caused pain with standing more than 10 minutes or walking. It’s tiring. Being as physically active as I could -treadmill using side bars to “offload” my back a little so I could walk farther, swimming, stationary bike - helped a lot. And it contributes to your endurance and general well-being. I’d done karate for years which helps ones back but eventually had to stop that. It is something I think one can press thru - give some time to caring for yourself and continue to study when you are “resting”, with intervals of movement. Sitting for too long studying can really contribute to the whole problem. Best wishes.

I only used the free features on Curable. I do like it and think it could be eye-opening/helpful for many. My condition was worse when it first started in 2016. I still have my good and bad days.But it’s definitely not at its worst. I would look for a TMS-physician in your area if you think that is what it is so everything else can be ruled out. I am not a medical student currently. I was taking pre med classes with the pain. Believe it or not, I got used to the pain and would just study/work through it.