Rethinking Chronic Pain
Experiencing long-term pain can lead to changes in our brain that amplify symptoms- essentially, our brain becomes more efficient at recognizing pain.
Read on to earn how you might retrain your brain to minimize chronic symptoms.👇
Chronic pain lasting more than three months has the potential to lower your pain threshold or even affect other parts of your body. This “hypersensitization” happens primarily in your brain, not at the site of symptoms, meaning you must reprogram how your mind thinks about everyday activities and movements.
The following strategies may help you actively rethink discomfort, retrain your mind, and overcome chronic problems.
STAY ACTIVE: There is a vast difference between hurt and harm. Movement can be uncomfortable, but it does not necessarily mean that you are harming yourself. Recognize that the amount of pain you are experiencing does not correlate with the amount of tissue damage. Slow down for acute or radiating pain but unless directed otherwise, nudge into manageable discomfort.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN IS NOT A PROPER MINDSET EITHER – Overdoing it will often set you back. The balanced sore but safe approach is usually best.
START SLOWLY – Pick one activity that you would like to perform, i.e., walking. Identify your baseline for what you can comfortably achieve, i.e., 5 minutes on a flat surface, then nudge it each day, i.e., add one minute or increase the pace slightly. Be patient.
REFOCUS – It’s natural to focus on discomfort, but next time you sense irritation, refocus your attention to another healthy part of your body. i.e., when your back hurts, focus intently about how good one specific knuckle feels, or sing a song in your head. Your brain can de-sensitize an area whenever you focus on something else. This can trigger lasting changes in your brain that will help you recover.
CONTINUALLY REFUEL YOUR BRAIN – Choose a healthy diet with plenty of water, and strive for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
SEE THE MOST APPROPRIATE PROVIDER – Unfortunately, drugs and other chemicals rarely provide long-term benefit for chronic mechanical muscle and joint pain. (1-4) Chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, has been endorsed by multiple authorities as a first-line treatment for chronic pain. (5-13) Chiropractic care addresses the mechanical problems that perpetuate muscle and joint pain and is a proven solution that can help you get back to the life you want.