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The Mind and Chronic Pain Link

The Mind and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a challenge that more and more people are facing every day. From headaches and migraines to back and joint pain, experiences of chronic pain can seriously disrupt your quality of life. Adding psychotherapy treatment to the more traditional approaches to pain may provide you with a powerful tool for addressing chronic pain.

How does that work?

The more technology advances, the more we are able to study the brain, and we are starting to understand how the brain functions in relation to pain. The latest research shows that pain originates in the brain. But, it’s not a mater of pain being “all in your head”. All pain is real, and each experience of pain is personal and unique. The brain is simply responding to danger signals that it is picking up from all around you.

Providing Protection

The mind has an incredible capacity to protect us from what it considers to be dangerous situations or emotional reactions that may generate a fear response. In certain situations, the brain may generate pain as a distraction to keep us safe from experiences that the mind determines to be too painful to bear. Consider a child who has a fallen in the playground. There is moment where the child is not sure whether to cry or not, and their reaction is dependant upon on the reaction of caregivers around them. If there appears to be no danger, then there is no need for a pain response.

What can I do to help my mind release pain?

Strong emotions such as anger, grief and guilt may be one of the causes of ongoing, chronic pain. Learning to identify and experience strong emotions without suppressing them, may result in a reduction of pain. A simple practice is to try paying extra attention to what is happening in your life. Consider what your worries and stressors are, and reflect on how you feel about them. If the feelings are overwhelming or you feel stuck, then seek the help of a qualified psychotherapist who can assist you in this process.

Best Treatment Approach For Chronic Pain

It is estimated that about 20% of adults suffer from chronic pain. There are many different causes of chronic pain, and it can often be tricky to find the right solution. Sometimes nutrition plays a role, or perhaps the pain has been present since a bad injury. Also, many illness and diseases can contribute to chronic pain making it one of the most misunderstood problems that health professionals and their patients try to deal with.
In my practice, I have many patients who suffer with chronic pain. Thankfully for most of these patients, their pain is managed with ongoing Chiropractic care. However, it is often tricky to find the right approach that works, but over the years, I have had the most success using Functional Range Release techniques.
Functional range Release, is a system of assessments, treatments and exercise prescription that has completely changed the way I practice Chiropractic. It targets scar tissue in muscles and fascia that can form due to chronic stressors or injuries. The scar tissue (or adhesions) prevents proper movement of the joints, thus leading to dysfunction and inflammation and then pain. If the scar tissue is not removed properly and completely, the dysfunction and pain can easily become chronic.
Functional Range Release can be applied to any area of the body and can be performed in a very gentle, specific way, so as not to aggravate any underlying conditions. As long as the technique is applied this way, there are very little adverse reactions. Unfortunately people with chronic pain sometimes do have adverse reactions to conservative treatments such as Chiropractic or Physiotherapy, making them think these conservative treatments are not an option .
Over time, the scar tissue is “broken up” and proper movement to the joints is restored. This in turn, reduces dysfunction, inflammation and therefore pain.
It is also important to focus on realistic goals, no matter what type of treatment you choose for your chronic pain. In some cases, the best outcome is only a 20% improvement. This is the case when there are multiple factors contributing to a person’s pain. In these instances, I usually refer to a Naturopath or other health care provider so that all aspects are addressed. This, in most cases, produces the best results.

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Teri Brantford, ON

I have been for chiropractic treatment many times at Brant Wellness and Rehab. Lanna always gives a warm reception when you arrive, and Dr. Spenser Dougley is a doctor that you know is listening! I have had fantastic results! I couldn’t get out of a chair this morning without excruciating pain. Had a treatment this afternoon and wow, I am moving 10X better

5 stars

Becky St. George, ON

I have been seeing Dr. Spenser for a few years. When I started seeing him I was a mess. I was in constant daily pain that would often land me on the couch with ice packs. My ankles and wrists used to hurt so much, that after going on a class trip with my kids, I would get tons of pain in my feet and ankles for days. And even something as simple as making dinner would hurt my wrists to the point where I wore braces on them just to help the pain. Now I very seldom have ankle or wrist pain since Dr. Spenser has worked on removing my scar tissue in those areas. I also have much less debilitating headaches. We are still working on that area, but have made great progress! I highly recommend seeing him. Chiropractors aren't all about backs! They can help the pain in your joints too!

5 stars

Stephanie Brantford, ON

I love the gentle approach Dr. Spenser takes to his treatments as the typical “snap” and “crack” treatments have never been very comforting to me.

5 stars