I frequently talk about the importance of understanding pain and the underlying condition. This is primarily because one can cope better and deal with the situation more effectively when there is a meaning and an insight into what is happening. A neat study back in 2004 by Lorimer Moseley demonstrated how a physical test could change following an education session regarding pain. This means that altering someone’s understanding can affect the way that they move, illustrating the ‘power of the word’. Clearly the ‘word’ must be digested and felt to be relevant, so in providing education it must be poignant and have meaning for the recipient.
The important point is simply that to understand is to reduce fear and anxiety, and in particular in relation to movement in chronic pain cases. To fear movement will lead to a change in the way that it is both planned and executed. The amygdala that processes fear, communicates with the motor centres thereby affecting movement.
This recent paper is an update on the pathophysiology underpinning CRPS. It was published in The Lancet and so aimed at healthcare professionals, however I believe that anyone can tuck into this really good review. If there is anything that you don’t understand, just ask…