Pain – what is it and how to reduce it!

Pain – what is it and how to reduce it!

The subject of pain is a HUGE one and deserves much more time and space than I have here, but I will do my best to cover the key points.
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We all know what pain is like, but to clarify…. acute pain is short lived, the term chronic pain is used when pain has lasted for 3-6 months or more.

In a Lancet study carried out in 2014 (Michaleff et al), it was found that reading about how pain works for 30 months plus two telephone conversations, worked as well as twenty, yes TWENTY sessions of physiotherapy!!!  Therefore, understanding how pain works is key to recovering from it.

So here, and in my clinic, I teach people why they still have pain and help them out of it.

Its important to recognise that initial pain is often an indicator of danger.  It tells us to react and can save us from further injury or death e.g. if your finger is burning on the oven for example, you will automatically withdraw your hand from the heat (without even thinking).  When we have just injured our back, pain is helpful, because it warns us against further injury.
However (and this is the important bit) what we now know, is that after 3-6 months, pain is rarely in the tissues but in our nervous system.  That is, pain has caused our nervous system to change.  Our nervous system has become too sensitive!

“Sensitization means we turn the volume up on our alarm system, but are very poor at turning the volume down.’, Steve Haines, Pain Is Really Strange.

The medical profession used to believe that chronic pain was held in the tissues of the body, now we know that it rarely is.  The answer to resolving the pain issue is to show the system how to down-regulate / desensitize / ‘turn the volume down’.

I should also say at this point that unresolved emotional trauma is held in the physiology and in the limbic system, not the cognitive (thinking part of the brain) as previously thought.  It often shows itself as physical pain.  So whilst we may be looking for the cause of our pain by having MRI scans for example, there may well not be a structural cause.

So…..hopefully all of this goes some way to explain why Craniosacral Therapy (in my experience) is so effective in terms of reducing or eliminating pain from the body.

I could go and on about this subject, but I am passionate about helping people with pain.  The people I see in my clinic have often been in pain for decades.  They may have limited mobility and their quality of life / ability to work may be seriously affected.

In a treatment, we find that the body has it’s own sense of priority.  Number one is showing the system what safety is, this may be something which is a new experience, but is it key to everything else.  We then teach the system to notice sensations other than the pain.  This is all HUGE in terms of down-regulating the nervous system (turning the volume down).

Gradually, trauma, whether that be physical or emotional will come to the surface and release and the pain gets less or goes.  This is an amazing experience for someone when the pain has been there for a long time!

So, hopefully that gives you a brief summary of why I see so many people’s pain levels reduce or disappear.  These steps seem counter-intuitive I know and how can something so simple be so effective??  If you would like to understand more or see if this therapy can help you, please do get in touch.

Ouch!