Updated: Aug 6, 2021
1. Knowledge gives you power
Knowledge is so powerful that it is a medically recognised form of treatment. This is called Therapeutic Neuroscience Education and involves learning about the biological processes of pain. By creating a more comprehensive understanding of pain, we can reduce the stress responses that stem from a lack of knowing and build awareness over time. Knowing that we have power over our pain allows us to improve mobility, calm the nervous system and feel more confident in our day-to-day lives.
2. Pain is designed to protect
According to studies on evolution, pain is designed to keep us safe. This is shown through case studies on people with a limited capacity to experience pain that also have significantly reduced life spans. Without pain to alert us to danger, we lack the necessary boundaries to keep us safe.
3. Pain is not just a physical experience
Studies have shown that pain can manifest when there is no actual physical damage to the body. When it comes to chronic pain, damage can be one of the least influential factors as the brain moves its perception of perceived threats and danger according to where it is most need to protect us. When there are many perched threats the autonomic nervous system gets overloaded and manifest like a computer short circuiting.
4. All pain is created in the brain
We may think that pain is created in the area of the body where it is felt, but in actual fact, nociceptors in the area alert the brain that there’s a potential threat and decide how much pain should be felt in response. This doesn’t mean that pain is not real, it just means that it is created in the brain first. The pain system is incredibly complex, and its “centre of command” is the nervous system. This is why so much of our healing relies on creating a state of safety and calm.
5. Pain is an opinion not a fact
This opinion is not just based on a physical response, but on an assessment, which examines how much pain should be felt in order to protect you from the experience at hand. The assessment is based on several factors: if you are able to cope with the pain in that moment; how much fear you have in relation to pain; and how equipped your body is to deal with the pain biologically. This is significant when it comes to fibromyalgia because the brain can decide that you’re in grave danger, even when you’re not.
6. To get rid of pain you have to treat the brain
This all depends on the bio-psycho-social-model, taking into account psychological components, social and environmental constructs, biological factors, and how they each impact pain. If we have a deep-rooted psychological belief that we cannot heal pain, if we have limiting beliefs around recovery, if our social model keeps reinforcing the notion of lack of safety in the environment, and if additional genetic factors limit other areas of our health, these can all greatly reduce progress and development in terms of healing.
So where do we start in terms of pain management?
Here are the simple steps that I have used with myself and clients:
1. Reduce the stress response in the body.
2. Examine thought patterns.
3. Reframe and rewire existing neural networks.
4. Heal through mind, body and energy combination practices