What is pain …. and how is the pathway to healing (with the right help)
How can I possibly heal when I am in so much pain?
What is pain anyway, and why does it occur? Can I really recover from pain that has been with me for years and years?
Gosh these are all good questions, and questions that I hear so very regularly in my practice. I see people who are at the end of their tether; they have been pushed around, tested, experimented on with different pain reducing medications and are simply tired of the ‘system’.
Pain is real, no matter what. The reason may not present on any test you have, but if you are feeling it, then it is real. Sometimes, we are told that it is all in our heads, and to be honest this may be true, but you need to remember that your pain is your reality, no matter what!
Everyday new research is coming out about the role the brain plays in chronic pain, we are just scratching the surface of this new frontier, which is exciting. But understanding goes a long way towards healing.
Sometimes we just need to be able to get into your head and do some reprogramming, rewiring and reframing. The brain has an enormous capacity for change. It is called neuroplasticity, meaning we can change our reality.
Where the word pain comes from
The word pain comes from the French/Latin word “poena” meaning punishment, suffering or hardship or the Greek word “poine” meaning penalty or retribution.
I find this interesting, because when I work with people who have chronic long term pain, often upon exploration of the emotions and the events behind the beginning the pain, punishment is a word that rings true for many people, punishment that causes suffering and or hardship.
Pain is often referred to as either acute or chronic. Acute pain is pain that comes quickly from an injury or trauma, an unguarded movement or accident. It is short lived and repairs without problems. Acute pain is anything from a paper cut to a fractured leg.
Chronic pain is a whole different story with a whole different mechanism.
It is classified as pain that lasts longer than 6 weeks and is not relieved by rest or medication.
Our tissues do not actually register pain. The injured tissue sends messages to the brain, which then interrupts the signals and determines the level of danger and then protection that is needed, it then sends messages back to the tissues which then causes a modification in behaviour of the person.
That is a simple explanation of how things occur. Pain is a construct of the brain and the result, pain, is the output of the brain and it is designed to protect you.
One of the great modulators of pain is language, thoughts and feelings, or another way of saying this is perception. Our perception is our reality, and this is within our control.
Once you have this concept though, the question is, well how do I control my perception?
Perception is controlled through awareness, and once we become aware of either the emotional drivers or the physical mechanisms or the biochemical mechanisms driving the perception signals, then we can change. We can rewire our brains.
Change can be such a dirty word to so many people, especially in the world of pain, but once you embrace change, then life really opens. You begin to get options and these can then drive decisions.
It is like a never-ending spiral, one that goes down and up, like a wind charm, and depending upon the direction of the wind, will depend upon your ability to change.
Nothing is bad and nothing is good, it just is. It is your perception that makes it good or bad, and the real kicker in the pain scenario is, sometimes we are not even aware of our perception!
Healing from chronic pain is a two-pronged approach.
The food you eat has a direct correlation with the amount of pain you are in. The quality of that pain and how intense it is. The food you eat will also influence your gut bacteria, and we are now beginning to understand that these gut bacteria can influence the brain’s perception of pain.
So let’s get the food right.
2. Perception (neuroplasticity, changing your brain)
Understanding how we think, feel and act closes doors and opens windows, allowing us opportunities to heal.
In my 2½ day workshop I will help you to understand:
• The gut-brain connection
• How to feed your gut microbes, so you can be healthy and happy
• How to think, feel and act differently
• How to embrace change
• How to heal from emotional wounds
• How to live the life of your dreams
Come join me at Phillip Island on May 5 – 7 if you really want to heal your body from chronic pain and illness.