Episode 2: Mind Body Therapies, Medicine and Your Pain Dial
Managing Your Pain Dial
Mind Body Medicine may be more effective than medication?
Mind-body medicine approaches by their very nature put high value on and teach patients the power of self-awareness, mindfulness, and self-care. In doing this they help shape the new integrative model of health care. The result of this approach achieves a balance between educating patients and their treatment.
Mind-body medicine uses the power of thoughts and emotions to influence physical health. As Hippocrates once wrote, "The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well." This is mind-body medicine in a nutshell.
Today, there is renewed interest in Mind-body approaches which include self-awareness, relaxation, meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, physical exercise, art, music, and movement. No longer viewed with suspicion, mind-body programs are now established at prestigious medical schools in the United States and around the world. Studies show these nondrug treatments have often broader and more sustainable effects than the benefits of many of the drugs used in similar situations and conditions. Mind Body therapies are now the best known and most widely used in complementary, alternative, or integrative approaches to healthcare.
Our innocently conditioned mind has a belief that when your body is harmed, information flows from the afflicted area to your brain, leading you to cry out, stop in your tracks and find some medication for relief. It is true that sensory information is coming from your body via your nervous system to your brain when your muscles, tendons or joints are injured, or the tissues are damaged by excessive heat, inflammation, or a chemical irritation like a pinch of pepper in your eyes. This process is called nociception. In the past scientists believed that your brain simply received and represented these nociceptive sensations and “presto” you experienced pain.
When you are expecting pain, like the moment just before you get an injection, your brain regions that processes nociception change their activity. That is, you simulate pain and therefore, feel it. This phenomenon is called “nocebo” effect. You are probably more familiar with its counterpart, the “placebo” effect, which relieves pain using a medically ineffective treatment like a sugar pill. If you believe you’ll feel less pain, your beliefs influence your predictions and tune down your nociceptive input, so you do feel less pain. Both placebos and nocebos involve chemical changes in the brain regions that process nociception.
Did you know that you can turn down your Pain Dial?
Scientists now consider chronic pain to be the brain misunderstanding or misinterpreting sensations from the environment (the body). It does this by utilizing its roots in previous useful neurocircuits that are no longer accurate. For example, the brain in patients who suffer chronic pain have sometime in the past received intense nociceptive input, and as the injury healed, the brain didn’t get the memo. Scientists believe that prediction about inner-body sensations (stressful events, emotions) and certain previously painful movements are turning up the volume for nociceptive input as it heads from the body to the brain.
Through the tools I will point you to in the resources below you can take back your power to manage your pain. If you imagine that your pain has a dial like your radio. The more stress and emotional upset you are experiencing the louder your pain will get. You have innocently turned up your pain dial. By having tools to decrease your stress, feel your emotions completely and let them go, you have a huge advantage at keeping your pain dial turned down.
Try these tools that are mentioned in my book “The Health Code, Aligning Mind and Body for Optimal Wellness "or download the audios on the website and begin to manage your pain dial better.
You’ve Got this!
Resources for Turning down Your Pain Dial;
Buddha Belly Breathing
Breathwork / The basics of Letting Go
Focused Attention Breathing (FAB)
Just Relax Visualization
Focused Diaphragmatic Breathing (FDB)