Many of us associate pain with pain killers, but what happens when these don’t work or have side effects, or you want to find another way to cope with your pain? Are there other ways to deal with pain? Yes, there are! There is hope!
If you have chronic pain then often this is debilitating and it can be impossible to think, make decisions or function properly. It can make daily chores impossible, working, household chores, transport or travelling or meeting up with friends. It can make us feel sad, anxious, frustrated and naturally on edge with low tolerance for those around us. It can feel as if you are trapped in torture, unable to see an end point, unable to feel when the pain lets up or changes.
There are some excellent NHS pain clinics out there which look at pain holistically, but in our experience these are rare in these NHS cash-strapped times. What we often hear from clients with pain is that they have only been offered medication, physiotherapy, and sometimes hydrotherapy (pool) or acupuncture. Rarely are residential clinics offered or day clinics around how you can train your brain to experience your pain differently.
We experience pain with our brains, where several brain areas work together in a network. It has been shown that intense, threatening and chronic pain cause changes in the nervous system. In chronic pain patients, some brain areas become hypersensitive or overly active, while activity in other areas decreases. In chronic pain, it’s as if the brain is off-balance. Whilst we cannot change the pain, we can change our perception of the pain by ‘re-wiring’ the brain. This is especially true if trauma was the starting point of chronic pain.
We often try and avoid looking at our pain, yet by getting to know the pain and its relationship with our minds and bodies it is possible to exert more control over it.
We have quite a few tools which may make it possible for you to either reduce your pain medication or, if medication isn’t effective or not your first choice, to provide you with other tools for coping with pain. Please click on the following pain resources and get in touch for more in-depth support:
- Pain diary – this is usually the starting point to learning about your pain. Finding out the triggers and what reduces it. Think about stress, exercise, sleep, fear of pain, medication, food, constipation, sex, mood, isolation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and finances. All these may impact on your pain.
- Pain and nutrition – our bodies respond to what we eat and drink. There is evidence that certain foods increase our perception of pain and others reduce it. Generally speaking the healthier food we eat, the better our bodies are able to cope with our pain. Contact us to find out more. There are several books on this topic on Amazon.
- Pendulation exercise – this, when practised a few times a day for a week, may improve your perception of pain. The pain may increase the first few times you try it.
- Treatment of pain with EMDR information leaflet. Read this if you are interested in dealing directly with your pain and ‘re-wiring’ your brain. Contact us if you would like to try EMDR or find out more here.
- Pain support programme – we have a programme that you can complete alongside our therapeutic support. This covers things like pacing, mindfulness, meditation, relaxation versus tension, increasing awareness, goals and coping strategies.
- Book: Pain Management by Robert Lewin, around £10 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chronic-Pain-Pain-Management-Plan/dp/0956662803/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500576074&sr=8-1&keywords=pain+management
- Resource: we have a resource booklet which covers talking about your pain, meditation and self-hypnosis, understanding pain, self-care, feelings and talking about your pain to others. Email us if you would like a FREE copy of this.
- Mark Grant’s audio CD Change your Brain, Change your Pain is available on Amazon or Ebay from £1-10. When used frequently this can reduce your sensation of pain.
- Websites: look at https://overcomingpain.com/ as a starting point.