Is worrying about your pain and stress making it worse?
Have you ever caught yourself panicking when something that used to hurt terribly starts hurting again, even a little bit?
Do you find yourself asking yourself things like, “How bad is this going to get? What if it’s as bad as the last time? What if it gets bad and doesn’t heal this time?”
If so, this Gentle Nudge edition is for you. Heck, this is for you even if you’ve never felt this way, because it never hurts to learn more about how our brain works and ties in with how we experience our bodies. #TheMoreYouKnow
I’ve experienced persistent and acute pain issues in many ways over the years, and healed really well from most of them. Every so often, though, a pain will creep in that feels like an old pain; maybe a pain that used to be really bad, or took a long time to heal.
I’ll admit, this used to send me into a total panic, and I’d get lost (without knowing it) in a self-fulfilling pain loop; a loop in which my thoughts and beliefs about my physical experience were feeding the pain, and then the pain fed my thoughts, and round n’ round I’d go.
With practice developing my self-awareness, both mentally and physically (e.g. bodywork and somatic movement methods), as well as boosting my knowledge of pain science, I’ve gotten much better at noticing my thoughts when this happens, and using it to my advantage.
I made a short facebook live video about a recent experience with my lower back, and how I used worry constructively to turn things around and move myself out of pain relatively quickly. Have a watch: http://bit.ly/2kEj31T
I’ll also leave you with this excerpt from a brilliant book, “The Brain’s Way of Healing,” by Dr. Norman Doidge. (If you want to geek out on neuroplasticity, pain science, and amazing stories of healing all kinds of persistent pain issues, stroke, Parkinsons, brain injuries, etc. this is a must read. It’s dense, but layperson-friendly).
First, a little background: When persistent pain develops, the brain creates a sort of faulty alarm system, meaning the sensation of pain can get triggered without a whole lot of provocation. This can happen even if there’s no longer tissue damage.
Now, that’s a very light-brushstrokes explanation of how chronic pain develops and operates, but will hopefully be enough for you to make sense of the following about using pain as an OPPORTUNITY for greater healing:
“Opportunity means turning each pain episode into a chance to repair the faulty alarm system. While it’s hard to welcome an attack of pain, using it to rally oneself can feel constructive, knowing one is taking charge and is using the pain spike to heal. That attitude by itself can alter the mindset and brain chemistry. ‘Pain that persists,’ Moskowitz says, ‘is terrifying because it sets off the amygdala, before the parts of the brain that modify our emotional responses can be turned on.
The result is that we reexperience the trauma that caused the pain and this trauma is continuously reinforced by it. The terror demoralizes us, and as pain-processing areas expand in the brain, we lose our full ability to problem-solve, regulate emotions, resolve conflicts, relate to others, distinguish other sensations from pain, effectively plan, and even remember how to apply our past experiences to control pain. Every time pain worsens, it feels like it is here to stay, and we must avoid it at all costs. The amygdala is not a place of moderation. It is a place of extreme emotions, fight-and-flight and post-traumatic stress disorder. Persistent pain demoralizes most people who have it. If, on the other hand, we turn the pain episodes into an opportunity to practice using our brains and bodies differently to gain control of the pain, then pain spiking shifts from an act of terror to a chance to soothe… Essentially we are turning the disease back to a symptom, a signal to rally us to do something to stop it.” p. 20–21
Our brains can be a treasure trove of pain relief, if we know how to access it. And the combination of conscious thought, movement, therapeutic touch, visualization, and other things can go a long, long way, over time, to reduce or even completely heal persistent pain patterns.
That’s a juicy couple of paragraphs up there, so I invite you to re-read them, and watch my video for a concrete example of how I used this exact process, and a couple other tools, to transmute pain into ease fairly quickly.
Click here to watch → http://bit.ly/2kEj31T
I hope you found this helpful. Please, be in touch with any questions, and forward this to anyone who might benefit from having this powerful info. It could make a huge difference in their healing, you never know : )
P.S. I’ve been enjoying doing impromptu facebook live videos recently, and have a couple more videos on my page for you to check out. I plan on doing more, so make sure to ‘like’ my page if you haven’t, and turn notifications ON so you’re alerted when I’m going live!
P.P.S. Find this article interesting or inspiring? Click the heart icon below so others find it more easily on this platform. Thanks!