How to Heal Persistent Pain
“We have learned more about the physiology of pain in the last ten years than in the previous thousand years.” ~ Lorimer Moseley, Explain Pain
“Knowledge produces powerful changes in your nervous system. Understanding pain neurophysiology is linked with less pain, improved movement and decreased perception of disability.” ~ Neil Pearson, Understanding Pain
I recently joined Toastmasters because I wanted to be able to articulate what I understand about pain in a way that makes sense. You’ve seen me write about this before, so here’s a new take on an old, but important subject.
One in four people suffer from persistent pain. So if it’s not you, it’s very likely to be someone you know. When we understand what pain is and how it is generated in the nervous system, we’re more likely to find relief. So just reading this might help. Let's dive in.
What is pain?
The past few decades have seen an upsurge in pain research. Here`s what we know.
Your pain is not in your tissues.
Pain is complex, and personal.
Everything seems to check out, but you`re still in pain.
Simply put, our pain system can malfunction.
When this happens, the nervous system has become hyperactive.
This hyperactivity creates persistent pain.
Pain is complicated.
The brain analyzes the danger signals, and considers
This analysis is rapid and we’re usually not conscious of it.
The brain decides whether to send pain. If it senses danger the brain can amplify the danger neuron signals by sending a chemical (cholecystokinin) to increase pain.
How do we change persistent pain? Start by recognizing our thoughts and feelings.
Assess your real risk.
Set goals. Ask yourself:
We have natural painkilling chemicals in our bodies.
Change the nervous system and retrain the brain to feel less pain.
Respite, Calm, and Challenge. We need all three for nervous system change.
The three P’s: Practice, Patience, and Persistence.
Yoga and mindfulness practices can help. Practise gentle movement and calm breathing, asking yourself:
Practise what you want to become.
Practise this mindfulness body scan for pain.
This way of thinking about pain and the brain can be a complete paradigm shift. Here are some comments from some of my clients about their experience with changing their pain.
I`d love your feedback on what you think about pain. What is your experience of pain? Do you have any questions or want more information? Please leave a comment below.
Donna offers a holistic perspective on the relationship and healing of physical and emotional pain.