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Dissertation

Embodiment, meaning and chronic pelvic pain: A review and extension of the literature

27 July 2007

Abstract

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) affects a sizeable portion of the female population. cpp is often difficult to diagnose and treat because the underlying pathology can be hard to detect. Patients diagnosed with CPP often consult with many doctors, experience trials of medications, and undergo surgery usually with no benefit or reduction in the pain. Furthermore, even when tissue pathology is detected the pain may not be explained. The problems women endure with the apparent meaninglessness of their pain understood in the biomedical terms that separates the mind from the body were exposed in the review of the literature. The purpose of this paper was to present a cross-fertilization of ideas and disciplines so that CPP and approaches to treatment of CPP could be reconceptualized from an integral and non-dualistic perspective of the mind-body. The influences of cultural phenomenology, mindfulness meditation, existentialism, theories of embodiment, consciousness studies, cognitive psychology, and psychosomatic medicine on approaches to CPP were discussed as possible resolutions to the dilemma of CPP. An examination concerning how the body has been conceptualized in contemporary western and eastern philosophical thought was utilized in order to show how these ideas may be applied to the problem of chronic pain. The goal was to outline a new framework for understanding the embodied (conscious) experience of pain, meanings of pain and/or the role of meanings in the pain process.


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