What if chronic pain isn’t all it seems? What if chronic pain wasn’t a warning but a useless frustration?
You see, acute pain (the pain we feel when we lift a hot pan) and chronic pain(the pain we still feel 3 months after injury), are completely different.
Pain is a complex message that isn’t always what it seems.
Acute pain is a message that warns us to take immediate action.
Chronic pain (pain that you have suffered from for more than 3 months) is a message that has got stuck. When there is a fire, the fire alarm sounds. This is a useful message that forces us to take immediate action.
What if the fire alarm rings long after the fire has been put out. At that point it becomes a distressing nuisance.
The pain we feel is a ringing fire alarm that sounds long after the fire has been put out! It is an unnecessary nuisance. So, your pain can be reduced or completely removed- in one or two sessions!
Does this sound too good to be true? If so I completely understand. The truth is, in my clinic I have worked with many, many people who believe that they are stuck with their pain. They believe that it will never go away and their only relief is pain killers.
Here’s the good news: this is a false belief, pedalled by the medical profession. This is just one of the myths that many people believe about pain.
I’D LIKE TO BUST 6 PAIN MYTHS ….
Injury causes pain … even three months later!
I treat many people that have been told, by doctors, that your back pain was caused because of degenerative changes, disc protrusion, slipped disc, osteophyte formation/ osteoarthritis. The truth is these terms describe normal changes that happen as we get older. Let me explain – There is no evidence that any of these changes cause pain experienced. In some cases they are not even present in people with back pain!
These labels only create confusion, and fear, that keep many suffering for years.
# Myth 2
Medical imaging is necessary to find out the reason pain
Many people think that MRI or CT scans will give the answer to their chronic pain. Medical imaging does show changes in your body, which occur for all of us as we age BUT it doesn’t tell you anything about pain or why we feel it! It causes us to worry that we have something wrong with us, which creates stress and magnifies your pain (more on this in a moment).
Chronic pain is caused by the site of injury
Pain is a message to alert us to take action. It acts as a protection. Initially, it is a symptom. If we accidently touch a hot iron, we immediately feel acute pain. This is a warning that your skin is burning and move your hand quickly!
Acute pain attached to cell damage, such as a cut after an operation, or with a tumour or inflammation.
Usually, pain stops, before the tissues have fully healed, as action has been taken.
If pain becomes chronic it is giving a persistent message that is no longer necessary because the damaged tissues have healed. The pain is very real, for the sufferer.
The answer to removing chronic pain, whether physical or emotional lies, in finding the cause and working with the part of the body that controls the pain – the mind.
I am still in pain, so I haven’t healed.
Our bodies heal quickly, usually within 3 months.
If pain persists beyond 3 months, then it is an unnecessary message because the damaged tissues have healed. So the pain is no longer a warning.
The truth is that chronic pain is no longer a reliable indicator of what is happening in the body.
Pain is just caused by cell damage
There is a lot of medical research which shows that pain doesn’t relate only to cell damage.
Dr Slje Reme, in her TED talk ‘Pain – Is it all in the mind?’ gives the scientific proof that pain doesn’t just relate to cell damage but also takes into account emotions, circumstances, thoughts, memories and beliefs.
Often with chronic back pain there is no physical problem. Nothing that will show on a scan.
So, what is the cause of the pain?
Chronic pain is caused by things like job stress, job insecurity, social anxiety, pressure from relationships, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, chronic fatigue and guilt.
A belief that if there is a lot of pain there must be significant damage.
Many of my patients think the more intense pain, the worse the damage to a muscle, ligament or tissue.
Our brain constantly assesses all aspects of our body (this includes or physical and emotional state). The unconscious mind gives us a level of pain it thinks is appropriate.
If I were to stroke your arm with a feather, you wouldn’t be in pain. However, if I were to run a blow torch up your arm, you would be screaming in pain!
To some people the feather feels like a blow torch. The brain is confused.
The cause of the pain is not physical. It is emotional. It is in the unconscious mind.