Areas Of Specialty / Pain Neurophysiology

The Functional Osteopath

Pain Neurophysiology

Pain is something we can all relate to.  It is unpleasant and no one likes to stay in pain for very long, or at all,  but these characteristics are what make it so essential.  Pain is necessary, it alerts us to danger, often before the danger is detrimental.  It occurs when the body’s
alarm system alerts the brain to actual or potential tissue damage.  It can be
such an effective motivator:  you can’t think, feel or focus on anything else.

Pain is not just physical.  It is psychological and driven by emotion as well.  Although emotional and physical pain are often separated, they are processed in similar ways in the brain. Some pains can have a lot of tissue injury or little to no obvious injury  with varying emotional content.  Furthermore, pain is not a linear process, meaning that not all injury produces pain and not all pain is associated with injury.  Rather, pain is an experience that involves many thoughts and emotional contributions and one that the brain ultimately decides 100% of the time whether pain is going to be the outcome.  When pain is felt, the brain has decided that what has happened to the tissue is a significant enough threat. When there is no pain, no threat has been evaluated.

In pain experiences such as grief or rejection from a loved one, both of which have high emotional content, there will be physical changes as well in the muscle tension, ability to eat and altered cellular healing. To effectively deal with pain, it is important to understand the sensory cues or triggers that can help start a pain experience.

There are many stories, misunderstandings and fears about pain especially when pain outlasts the proposed healing time of the tissue, a characteristic of chronic pain.  Most
people, including clinicians, do not have a modern understanding about pain.  A modern understanding of pain addresses how we are influenced and in turn, how our pain is influenced. It provides an integrative, whole person approach to pain, where pain relies on the context, what it means to the individual and all of the lifestyle aspects that affect the individual. 

Teaching pain neurophysiology to clients is something I feel is essential to treatment.  Knowledge is power for anything you do not understand.  Pain education is actually a medically recognised form of treatment.  It addresses what is actually happening in the pain experience and all the things that can influence it such as stress, lifestyle and diet. I can really help you change the way you think about pain and therefore reduce its threat. I can give you practical tools and coping strategies to help you effectively manage when it comes back so that it doesn’t stop you from doing the things you love and need to do. You will learn how to train your brain with easy steps that affect your neuroplasticity, the ability of your brain to change itself.

Benefits of Pain Education 

Decreased Pain

Improve Physical Ability 

Increased Range of Motion

Decreased Fear 

Calming of the Nervous System