The study of neuroscience has revealed a great deal about the role of the brain in pain and chronic pain. Here, Lorimer talks in his informal way about some very complex processes.
Understanding pain is undoubtedly a vital part of dealing with the experience. To develop understanding is to learn. To learn is to change the brain. The brain is very plastic–neuroplastic. See this blog on change
Pain is all about a perceived threat. What does the ‘perceiving’? The brain. If we can change the activity and connectivity in the brain, then we can change our conscious experience, in this case pain.
Pain is not set in stone. The quality and nature changes frequently and this is because there are a range of influences upon the experience of pain, numerous modulators of the signals in the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system.
‘Pain depends entirely upon what the brain THINKS is happening in the tissues’
Now, it is important to understand that although the brain has a key role in the experience of pain, it is a multisystem output. This means that there are many systems in the body that have a role, such as the immune system and endocrine system (hormones).
I spend a great deal of time talking to patients about their pain, helping them to understand the main problem, their chronic pain. We can discuss the brain and the other systems, but of course it REALLY HURTS in the body, so how can it be the brain? Pain certainly emerges from the body, a location that is allocated within the tissues. But, the underpinning neural correlate exists in the brain. Similar to vision, the brain interprets the signals and information to create what we see.
Please come and visit our clinic site here for information on treatment, training & coaching for chronic pain conditions: Specialist Pain Physio Clinics