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Chronic Pain Management

Pain Reprocessing Therapy: The Mind/Body Connection of Pain

Is fear driving your pain levels? Stress? Worry? Have you noticed a connection?

A key factor with pain reprocessing therapy (PRT) is the distinction between structural pain, like an acute injury, and neuroplastic pain, studies have shown that around 85% of chronic lower back pain is neuropathic (meaning that there is no serious structural damage found but your body is trying to protect you from something it sees as dangerous). And many other chronic pain issues are found to be neuropathic as well. Fibromyalgia, migraines, digestive disorders, and more. It can be scary not being able to find a reason for your pain, but it can also be good because is it is neuropathic pain it is reversible with the correct treatment.

 

If you don't know what neuropathic pain is, you are not alone. We are designed to believe there is structural danger/damage when we have pain. That is what a healthy nervous system and brain do. But what happens if your brain and nervous system are a little too protective?

"Working with Amber was literally life changing for me. I was suffering from two compressed discs in my lower back, was out of shape and desperately wanted to get back to pain-free movement so that I could rebuild my life. It was my first experience with chronic pain, and she helped me understand the mind/body connection and how to rewire the way I think about pain."

-Julie B.

Now, before I go any further, this does NOT mean that pain is all in your brain. Pain is real. But sometimes your brain starts to misinterpret signals from your environment and habits that cause it to tell you all about the danger it is sensing. It is just trying to keep you safe. Imagine this: The pain you are experiencing is partially structural, but you've been living with it for longer than 3 months. That is a strong piece of evidence that there is a neuropathic portion to your pain levels. Let's say it is 50% structural and 50% neuropathic. Does the idea of living with 50% less pain make you happy? I'm guessing yes.

This takes us to a common misconception in treating pain... that movement is best and needed to get back to life and living without pain. When you are the person in pain, and all you are given is exercise after exercise that seems to cause more pain (or is just boring), this doesn't help. We need to add in and look at what is making the brain so hyper-vigilant on looking for danger. This is work, but it is very effective work.

In the Boulder Back Pain study, 64% of the participants treated with PRT for their back pain were pain free not only by the end of the study, but were still pain free at the one year mark afterwards! This compared to the 20% that had traditional treatment (with 10% still being pain free at the one year mark). 

Interested in learning more? Work with Amber for your personalized program!

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