Train Your Brain For Pain Relief

Train Your Brain For Pain Relief

Did you know that pain is processed in the brain?

I’m not being dismissive or saying that it is imaginary but from an anatomical and physiological point of view, pain is evaluated and processed in the brain (via the spinal cord). As chronic pain continues and progresses, negative changes can occur in the central nervous system and pain signals can be reinforced and continue to remain active even when not necessarily triggered and a hypersensitivity can develop.

The human brain is very clever at conserving energy and conscious attention by continually learning, strengthening and reinforcing nerve pathways and learned behaviours, so repetitive actions, thoughts and emotions can easily become habitual and require no conscious effort. While great for learning a sport or new skill, this ability can be massively detrimental in long-term pain conditions.

Anything that you practice or repeat frequently whether it is a thought, emotion, action or reaction can become an ingrained and habitual response. This can also happen with pain signals to the brain. With chronic pain, because of repeated stimulation and reinforcement, nerve pathways transmitting pain messages to the brain can become entrenched and easily triggered.

Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity is a fast developing field of research that has implications for pain management. Contrary to previous medical belief, the brain has now been found to be able to form new neural connections and reorganise itself even into adulthood. So the brain can form and grow new nerve connections to compensate for disease or trauma.

In the book The Brain That Changes Itself, Dr Norman Doidge lists numerous studies which prove the wonderful pliability and plasticity of the human brain and how repeated thoughts and actions can actually rewire nerve pathways. This is why people with brain injury can restore body function by using different parts of the brain and establishing and developing new neural pathways.

It then follows that it is possible to train or use the brain to process pain signals differently and therefore relieve pain. We just have to learn how to stop using those ingrained neural pathways.

And while I am not saying it is easy, it certainly is possible.

Would you like some support and assistance with retraining your brain? Get in touch and book your free 15 minute discovery call to chat about how I can help you.

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