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5 posts tagged with "pain-and-the-brain"

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· 3 min read

Part of the "Pain and the Brain" series

I was recently thinking about a wonderful evening I spent in London several years ago. I was attending the Royal Society of Public Health Award Dinner, and it was a fantastic night. It was so wonderful to see all the great work that different charities and organisations do to improve the health of the nation.

However, there was one enormous highlight for me: the children from Breathe Arts Magic Programme were performing magic tricks for us at our table. These children all suffer with a condition called hemiplegia - paralysis or weakness on one side of their body - which can severely impact their ability to perform everyday tasks. The Magic Programme essentially took their physical therapy programmes and integrated them into magic tricks, which the children then learned, practised and performed. After only 2 weeks, the children were much stronger and more able to carry out their daily activities.

· 4 min read

Part of the "Pain and the Brain" series

For most of us, our understanding of how pain works goes something like this:

  1. You get an injury, which causes pain in the area
  2. Pain signals travel from the area to your brain
  3. You become aware of the pain and respond appropriately

But, if we thought about it a little more, we might come up with a few problems with this model of pain. For example, have you ever been doing some DIY and suddenly realised you were bleeding from a small cut? You've had an injury with no pain. Or those cases you hear of when someone has been in a bad car accident, and managed to get themselves out of the car and run a safe distance away before they realise they've broken their leg? There's a serious injury with no pain. I've seen things like that before at rugby matches whilst doing pitch-side first aid. Or what about Phantom Limb Pain? This is a condition where a patient has a limb amputated, but the limb still feels present and is in pain. We might even look at something like pain threshold, where people's tolerance to pain can differ hugely when exposed to the same painful stimulus. All of these things would give us a clue that pain might be more complicated than our 3 step model above.

From what we know from the best available pain science, the mechanism of pain actually looks more like this:

· 4 min read

Part of the "Pain and the Brain" series

So far in this series looking at the PAIN EQUALS DAMAGE myth, we've come to understand that:

  • Pain is not an accurate indicator of tissue damage
  • Pain is an output of the brain that is projected onto your body
  • The experience of pain is greatly influence by context, such as the language we use to describe our pain
  • Misinformation and untrue beliefs about our health and bodies can lead to an increase in pain

And so if you're dealing with long-standing pain, then let me give you 3 truths to combat this myth and help you with your own pain:

· 3 min read

Part of the "Pain and the Brain" series

Last week we explored the PAIN EQUALS DAMAGE myth and saw that:

If the brain feels there is credible evidence of a threat, it will create the experience of pain to protect you. Like that fire alarm sensing smoke or heat, it will sound the alarm. This in essence means that pain is not something that exists in the body, it is created by your brain and projected onto your body.

Now, I just want to pause here and deal with a thought that many of you are having right now. You might be thinking "Are you saying that for some people their pain is in their head?"