This is the first of three sessions exploring how new information about pain can help you get on top of it.
We’ll be looking at what changes in your brain and body when acute pain turns into chronic or long-term pain and how together you and your physio can positively influence the pain you feel. Most physiotherapy treatments involve relieving pain as part of the recovery process using a variety of techniques, usually physical or hands-on but also some of which you might not even be aware of.
Increasing your knowledge and understanding about how pain works and affects you is the first and most crucial/effective way that you can change what you’re feeling and begin to reduce and not just “manage” your pain.
We now know from recent pain science research that there are visible and measurable changes that occur in your brain when you experience both acute and chronic pain. As your brain controls your body, it follows that pain can have many far-reaching effects on all your bodily systems including movement, sleep, immunity, sweating, heartrate etc.
Acute pain is a protective mechanism often in response to an injury there to prevent further bodily damage. It’s like a car alarm going off to stop someone breaking your car. Usually this ease as the body repairs and recovers and returns to normal.
Pain that persists after the injury has healed when there’s no obvious physical or mechanical reason for it is chronic pain. Based on your past experiences, memories, beliefs and the emotional significance of the original event, your brain has assessed that a threat to the body still exists and can become over-protective. A new neurological program has been created so that the pain is experienced when there is a perceived but no actual danger to the body. That is, the car alarm goes off when someone simply walks past the car or looks longingly at it.
Having this warning pain happen frequently, easily and often without apparent cause changes a person’s behaviour and thinking which further alters their brain structure and function. So, it can become an ever-increasing vicious cycle that the harder someone works to exercise their way to a healthy pain-free body, the more their brain goes into overdrive to stop them. This occurs at the subconscious level so while it IS “all in your mind,” it’s not something that you can “think your way out of” without assistance. At Miami and Lakelands physiotherapy we can help you to understand where to start training your brain as you do your body to work your way out of pain.
Miami Physio : 9534 4111
Lakelands Physio: 9542 9999