PAIN:: If it’s all in the mind, perhaps we can control it

It’s probably not too controversial to suggest that pain is ‘all in the head’ or, more exactly, in our brain. But this simple fact is giving brain specialists a clue as to how we can better manage pain.
They have found that, for some patients, pain is a learned response. Painful experiences physically change the brain similar to the way that learning and retention does.
People who have experienced greater, and more frequent, pain may also have a greater sensitivity to pain as a result. They may also anticipate pain if the right stimulants are in place, just as Pavlov was able to make dogs salivate at thee sound of a bell. This may be especially the case in people with back pain who tense their muscles, and so, as a result, make the pain worse.
Specialists are trying techniques to ‘unlearn’ the brain about pain and its anticipation. Drugs may play a part in this process, but there may well also be a role for therapy in helping people better understand pain, and the way it quite literally shapes our brain.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

Explore Wellness in 2021