Chronic Pain is Real, but help is available
I thought I would write a little about Chronic Pain today. It is something many people suffer with, and can become a way of life if you are not careful. Some people even develop symptoms of anxiety or depression after living with chronic pain, and then it becomes even more difficult to cope with. Massage and other bodywork and physical therapies can help with the pain in the short term, but you may also need to go a bit deeper to understand yourself and in doing so, help identify the real source of the pain.
What is Chronic Pain? It is usually described as persistent pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment. It is often worse in periods of stress or unhappiness. It is very common, but you can gain some 'control' over your chronic pain with a range of techniques and education. If you understand how chronic pain works in your brain and your body, then you are a bit further ahead in tackling its effects on your physical and mental health. Everyone's situation is different.
An important thing to remember is that pain does not necessarily mean tissue damage. Two people with the same MRI result (ie prolapsed disc) may experience totally different pain levels, or no pain at all. On the flip side, someone with no obvious tissue damage, despite numerous scans, tests and visits to different health experts, may still be experiencing a lot of pain.
Some chronic pain sufferers are told the pain is all in their head, and in some ways it is, because there is no pain without the brain. However, chronic pain is real and often extremely devastating to the lives of many sufferers. It is often linked to past events, injuries and uncomfortable situations, and you have no real control over how the brain interprets things. But things can improve with awareness and practice.
It is important to remember that it is your journey, and you need to start to listen to your body and your emotions, to start to make sense of your pain.
In this space, I am simply going to connect you to some great resources that can help you in your chronic pain journey. This is just a very small sample, but hopefully by finding one that you resonate with, it will lead you down a path to finding more.
Educational (and entertaining) talk by pain specialist Prof Lorimer Moseley
TedX: Why Things Hurt (14 min)
Connections between trauma, PTSD and chronic pain (podcast with trauma expert Peter Levine)
The #1 Skill That You Must Have So You Can Release Pain (and free up space in your system for more goodness)....Blog post and video (6.5 min) by Irene Lyon
Check out Irene Lyon's website and Youtube channel to really dive into nervous system health. https://irenelyon.com/ and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBkXgr0E9ZWUg4iSDEUKqVA
Curable Health website and App (cost)
Modern neuroscience is illuminating more and more about how chronic pain develops and worsens. Study after study from the best scientists and institutions in the world show that the brain and central nervous system play a much more significant role in chronic pain than we once thought. By retraining the brain to process pain differently, we can reduce symptoms and gain more control.
Like Mind, Like Body podcast (part of Curable) (Free)
Numerous podcasts available to help you understand the mind body connection when it comes to chronic pain.
Blog Post: Chronic Pain: It's More than Mechanical (Free)
Shifting healthcare explanations from cause-based to mind body management
The Healing Pain Podcast: Episode 185
How to Deal with Difficult Emotions and Unpleasant Feelings, Dr Joan Rosenberg
Emotional state is a huge indicator to how much pain you feel at any one time. In this podcast you will learn why handling difficult feelings is the foundation of feeling confident, how to ride away the eight feelings or emotional states, how to cultivate confidence in your life and how to handle fear and anxiety.
Chronic Pain Self Help Guide (NHS Scotland) (Free)
A self-help guide that uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help you live with chronic pain.
Cycle of Stress and Pain - free download poster from Curable Health