By Dr. Emil Tompkins a Tucson Chiropractor with a passion for heloping you use your mind to relieve pain.
HI I’m Dr. Emil Tompkins and I want to welcome you to Beyond Pain Relief. The show designed to help you to not only feel better but to help you to achieve total health and wellness.
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Today we’re going to be talking about how you can use your mind to relieve pain. You’ve likely seen or heard our 4 mindset secrets that are causing you to have pain and we are going to build upon that today.
You’re going to learn about what goes on in our brains when we’re in pain
With a story:
Imagine walking along the African bush in a sarong (a type of robe-skirt)
And you feel sone thing that’s enough to make you jump. So you feel something and here’s what happens biologically.
Big myelinated fibers fire fast, to spinal cord and it says
you’ve just been touched on the outside of the leg in the skin” (breathing hard)
It was intense enough to activate free nerve endings, slowly travels up the spine and st stop[s there and says slowly “um you’ve been touched on the outside of the leg in the skin”
That sends a message to the brain and it says,
“Sir, you’ve been touched on the outside of the leg in the skin” and I think it could be dangerous”.
So that nerve signal asks the parietal lobe of the brain a few questions
Have we experienced this before?
“Yes we have”
So your brain goes through your past experiences and determines that you have had this sensation many times before running around as a child and it was just a twig scratching your leg. You then sigh in relief, you go to the river take off your robe and collapse and almost die. Because you’ve been bitten by a eastern brown snake.
But you thought it just felt like a twig scratched your leg. Your brain takes the sensation that you’re feeling and attached meaning to it, causing you to feel more or less pain.
Now, imagine years later, you are walking through the Arizona desert in shorts, you’re talking with someone who just can’t stop talking and you feel a pinching sensation in your leg.
Here’s what’s happening in your body.
Big myelinated fibers fast, to spinal cord and it says
“you’ve just been touched on the outside of the leg in the skin” (breathing hard)
That message goes right to the brain, it says last time you were here you almost died. and you feel searing pain so bad that you can’t move, in fact you hit the ground after trying to avoid that snake that you know just got you while your friend looks you over and tells you that you’ve been victim of a tiny scratch on the leg from the bush you just walked by.
Uncovering the mystery of your brain will help you to end chronic pain forever
Take back the brain.
How do we know pain exists in the brain.
Phantom limb pain. Brain still believes the part is there and will give pain signals when it feels there should be pain.
Smudging: If the brain gets confused and the area of the brain that controls the foot can control the arm which is why sometimes you’ll ave pain that moves into different areas when nothing new happened.
GRADED MOTOR IMAGERY
Graded motor imagery: exercise by thinking about it. It’s a series of brain exercises that have been proven to help people dealing with chronic pain. It’s broken down into 3 stages.
Left-right discrimination: the ability to identify right and left sides from images. The better you’re able to recognize the right compared to the left, the better change of recovery from chronic pain.
explicit motor imagery: imagine you’re moving the body part.
Mirror therapy: standing in the mirror, move the opposite body part while keeping the affected body part out of view. This can trick the brain into thinking the other one is exercising.
This activity is progressive. Sometimes you can even notice more pain from simply imaginingexercising. Do a little more each day in your mind while explaining how this is making you stronger
Finding a baseline: realize how far you can go or what you can do without a flare up.
Ex: walking with back pain
Use visualization to conquer your fear. Sometimes the fear can create catastrophizing thoughts that make the problem bigger than it really is.
1. Graded exercise program
2. Graded motor injury
3. Deepen the visualization
You are not your diagnosis. Never take ownership of the pain you’re feeling. It’s not YOUR fibromyalgia, YOUR back pain, YOUR frozen shoulder. Let it go and experience the pain fading away.
Attacked? Or Supported?
Attack thoughts and pain. Your brain’s job is to keep you safe. It never takes a holiday from safety. It can be actual or perceived.
Brain needs to know – am I being attacked or AM I BEING SUPPORTED
This is based on your thoughts, or self talk
Try support thoughts: I really love this exercise program
These new recipes are excellent.
I’m noticing changes when I’m coming to the office to get adjusted.
Our emotions can affect the amount of pain we’re experiencing. Forgiveness is something that is related to our health and our pain. Not just forgiveness of others if there is a person in your life that needs forgiveness. But also forgiveness of yourself. I can’t pretend to know what you’re going through but if there’s something that is going on in your life that you’ve not been able to forgive yourself for, then you’re setting yourself up for more pain.
You may find that forgiveness can directly affect your pain.
Those who demonstrate high levels of forgiveness had more energy for healthy activities.
If you are having trouble with attack thoughts, anger, blame, fear and guilt, try practicing personal forgiveness. It can calm your mind, create positive feelings and then rewire the brains pain mechanism.
Focusing on appreciation and gratitude can help you to relieve pain.
ACT: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy: these steps are best provided by a mental Heath professional.
Accept: accept instead of rejecting the reality of your situation that you have pain and take the steps to improve it.
Choose: chosen instead of automatic behaviors
Taking action instead of being acted upon.
Shows measurable pain relief over a 4 year period.
Caiming your mind or focusing your thoughts can help you to achieve more pain relief over a long period of time. This is another way to use your mind to relieve pain.
Emotional Patterns that are related to pain
Neck pain: anxiety, needing to control everything
Back pain: fear of financial, fear or failure
Arthritis: resentment and anger – i release anger from my life
Chronic pain: feeling threatened or guilty, seeking punishment
Overweight: hidden emotions of fear, anger, guilt
Autoimmune disease: self hatred
Spend some time writing down when we’re experiencing these negative thoughts or feelings and journal the positive thought patters that will help you
Journal: focus on the positive instead of the negative
2 things that will make the day great
Evening: 2 wonderful things that happened today
Having a goal can help you heal: focus on a particular goal to keep you moving forward during daily ups and downs.
7 Steps to Use Your Mind To Relieve Pain
There you have it. You now understand why and how chronic pain lives in the brain and some steps to change your brain to improve that pain.
1. Graded motor imagery
2. Attack vs. Supporting thoughts
3. ACT for acceptance and commitment therapy
Accept, commit, take action or be acted upon
4. Meditation and it’s effects on pain
5. Emotional pattern and their connection to pain
6. Journaling and focusing on positive supportive words to use on your journal
7. Having a goal to focus on instead of your pain.
When you get that scratch on your leg, that pain down the back, that tightness in the shoulder. Don’t discount it, because it is real, but the amount of pain you feel is depended to on what meaning your brain gave it. It may not be a snake, it may not be a completely blown disc, it likely isn’t cancer. Let your doctor, your chiropractor perform whatever evaluation necessary to determine the physical cause of your pain. Then it’s time for you to change how much meaning your brain gives it. You have control over that. You really can use your mind to relieve pain. Starting now, change the role your brain plays in your health.