Skip to main content

Train the brain, feel less pain

The idea for today's post comes from a story out of Australia--a story about a man who suffered terrible back pain.  Although the initial back problem was healed from a physical point of view, the idea of walking even small distances was disabling to him.  The young man took pain medications and wore a back brace, but that did not seem to be enough.  To put it simply, his body was healed...but his mind was not.



When the man's physician recommended cognitive behavioral therapy it seemed a bit absurd at first.
But after, consulting thirty different doctors, he found a pain clinic that worked with him, in essence "training his brain to feel less pain." Using a stopwatch, they worked to increase the amount of time he could sit upright, for example, by increasing the time in small increments day after day. There was also a psychologist involved who worked with the patient on relaxation and meditation techniques.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological technique whereby a person is taught to change undesired behavior. Usually it begins with an assessment, which helps to identify what the problem is. Once that happens, a goal is determined and the patient works toward that goal by via small steps. In addition, the patient learns to deal with what happens when things get "sidetracked"--disease flare ups, for example.  Therapy can be discontinued once the patient reaches the pre-determined goals.

Early intervention is ideal; the cost of missed work days and complications of conditions can wreak havoc on an individual, making their condition more complicated and thus more difficult to treat. While nothing is 100% guaranteed, it is certainly something to think about trying.  Unlike medication, there are no side effects or drug interactions to worry about.  And even if medication is necessary, these non-drug types of treatments work well alone and/or in tandem with medication.

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald: Wikimedia

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Living with Chronic pain hits the big screen!

Been to the movies lately?  Jennifer Aniston is on the big screen in a recent release titled "Cake."
Her character, Claire is a victim of chronic pain...she belongs to a support group, where all of the members are coming to terms with the suicide of one of their members.  Of course, she also takes pain medication and addiction is another of her problems...and of course there's more!

I guess I am writing this post just to bring readers' attention to the fact that Hollywood has become aware of the crisis that is chronic pain.  This movie is a testament to that. People that don't have to live with this kind of pain don't fully understand the whole story.  Maybe this movie will shed some light on the issues.

Here is the official trailer for the movie:


Sources: prweb;NorthJersey.com;YouTube


Herpes As A Helper?

If you've ever had shingles, or known anyone that has experienced it, you probably know that chronic pain can persist following the initial attack (post herpetic neuralgia).  This is because the herpes virus seems to have an affinity for nerve cells.  And while it's not fun to have shingles or post herpetic neuralgia, the herpes virus may be a key in future development of delivery systems for pain management treatments.





Here's the deal--since Herpes simplex has an affinity for nerve cells, researchers are looking a genetically modified, safer version of the virus to deliver genetic material to damaged nerves.  In simple terms, once the genetic material reaches these nerve cells, it will hopefully encode these nerves to ultimately inhibit pain signals.  Animal studies and clinical trials in cancer patients have been encouraging thus far.

This is one of those developments that makes me believe that there is hope for those in chronic pain. Along with so many other exciting d…

The Knee Bone's Connected To The Leg Bone....

Two recent studies have brought a not-so-novel concept into the limelight-the concept being that people who present with knee pain often develop pain in other parts of their bodies.  These studies, known as the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST) and the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), were assessed by a Clinical Epidemiology Team as Boston University School of Medicine in an effort to find preventive strategies to combat this trend.




The authors suggest that knee pain may cause individuals to alter their gait in an effort to compensate for their discomfort. In doing so, the alignment of other body joints is altered, and this may be the cause of secondary joint pain, especially hips and ankles. The authors go on to say that the pain in these secondary sites is not necessarily osteoarthritis--perhaps bursitis or some other injury.

Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear in the joints.  We may not be able to completely eliminate osteoarthritis from occurring, but some common se…