Pain is a natural part of life.We’ve all experienced pain for various reasons at one point or another. Common complaints I hear is back pain, knee pain, hip pain, abdominal pain, shoulder pain, neck pain… the list goes on and on.
How to take pain management into your
What do you when you have accepted chronic pain a constant companion? Fearing that it will never go away. Fortunately due to extensive research into the science of pain we have a better understanding the potential cause of chronic pain. The first step is basic education in understanding the origin of pain. Also adopting simple self-care routines to help redirect your attention, can strengthen your sense of control. In this article we will go beyond pain management, and explore how to disrupt the pathways of pain.
Origins of Pain
The origin of pain can be physically related to tissue or nerve damage. It can also have a mental or an emotional origin. However all types of pain–or nociceptive input–stem from the brain’s interpretation of a situation that is considered harmful or threatening which alerts the body to go into fight or flight.
This means that nociceptive signals are always real, but not always related to tissue damage or an imminent threat. If you are dealing with chronic pain it’s an important concept to understand and discern if the pain signal is actually necessary for your survival.
Our perception of pain is related to past experiences, also to our expectations, mood and what we focus on. Our brain has an amazing ability to adapt and remodel neurological pathways in order to improve communication between different brain regions that sends signals to other parts of the body.As much as this is a good thing it can also unknowingly create “pain pathways” . During times of high stress, these preferred pain pathways become activated. Because the signal is traveling along the most frequently used pathway.
Ignoring pain increases your nervous system’s sensitivity to pain, while also decreasing your ability to localize and specify the nociceptive signals. Which means that even the lightest touch or stimulus can cause a global overwhelming pain sensation.
Effective self-care for
Of course the natural reaction to pain (or a fear of feeling pain) is avoidance of any movement, position or situation we believe is associated with, or is causing, discomfort. Sometimes this strategy can be debilitating for someone with chronic pain. However, you don’t want to completely ignore pain signals. So what do you do?
Use the breath to calm
A good first step when managing chronic pain is to aid the nervous system calm down.Your brain is more sensitive to nociceptive signals when you’re stressed, therefore allowing yourself to relax to soothe the parasympathetic nervous system can be helpful. Begin by taking deep slow breaths helps to engage the diaphragm that is connected to the Vagus nerve, which controls the parasympathetic response. It is known that deep abdominal breathing is the fastest way to enter a more calm and relaxed state of being.
Cultivate a Mind Set
The next step is to cultivate a mindset to redirect your attention, create a sense of control and help to retrain your brain’s pain perception. By setting a deeply rooted positive intention for a specific aspect of your life. Creating a sankalpa in the form of a short sentence that’s easy to repeat will plant a powerful seed in your mind. A seed that can grow and serve as a guide to help you craft new and pain-free pathways in your brain. Such as “I am pain free, and I move around easily and effortlessly”.
Induce all over relaxation
Another way is to improve your proprioception ability to sense the position, orientation and movement of different body parts. It’s also a sensory information system that’s inversely related to nociception. In other words, proprioceptive signals tend to inhibit nociception, which means that this can be an effective strategy for reducing pain. Improving body awareness helps develop your ability to differentiate between different types of nociceptive signals.With a ball on the floor or at the wall is a good starting point.
The soft pressure from the ball stimulates receptors in your muscles, tendons and different layers of fascia.This kind of therapy can help your brain re-interpret signals that were previously thought of as nociception and therefore registered by the brain as pain.
After these 3 steps reIntroduce movement to further improve proprioception, increasing strength and building confidence. This will further enhance the positive neuro pathways toward liberation from pain.
If you enjoyed this article please let us know. Jessica Romano, ND,