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Chronic pain is nearly always a habit in the nervous system. Acute pain is an interpretation of nociceptive signals indicating tissue damage and inflammation. The tissues optimise the local repairs after a few months, so if the experience of pain persists then it is far more likely your central nervous system still frames the region initially damaged as unsafe in some way.

Here is a really nice graph (adapted from a NOI group training manual) giving some sense of the shift from tissue damage making up 3/4 of the pain experience in acute pain, to central processing making up 3/4 of the pain experience in chronic pain.

pain gifford graph_edited-2

New Research – you can see the changes in the brain in chronic pain

Here is a video describing how brain changes can be seen in chronic pain patients on MRI scans. Wild stuff, pain is very strange, and not what I was taught at chiropractic college.

The full original article on brain changes can be seen here

http://americannewsreport.com/nationalpainreport/scientists-say-brain-hot-wired-chronic-pain-8821714.html

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The video below is another wonderful development of how pain works. There is a revolution in how researchers are framing pain over the last few years. As teachers in the cranial community we are trying hard to catch up. We have changed our essential reading list to include Painful Yarns by Lorimer Moseley and tweaked the Body Intelligence Training manuals and teaching to reflect these new understandings.

The good news is that much of the territory we have been exploring for many years. The video below gives some great science backing up the model of using WOSI (Weight Outline Skin and Inside) as a framework of exploring how people actually perceive their body and our general goal of being embodied.

The research on two point discrimination described about half way through is fabulous. Also the left right discrimination. In fact the whole thing is just great.

Osteoarthritis pain is at least as much about the perception in your brain as it is tissue damage to the joint:

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 18.17.40

You can access many of the papers here   http://www.bodyinmind.org/resources/journal-articles/  A really good start is scroll down to 2008 to: Moseley,GL (2008) I can’t find it!  Distorted body image and tactile dysfunction in patients with back pain. Pain 140,1 239-43.

See also https://cranialintelligence.com/2012/03/21/great-pain-video-understanding-pain-in-less-than-5-minutes/

I have just discovered the site http://saveyourself.ca It looks like it has loads of good stuff on and is the source for this video.

Self touch improves the picture of our body in the brain and reduces the experience of pain (Results from new study in Current Biology)

Below is a link to a really interesting article on how representation of the body affects the experience of pain. The is very affirming of the importance of working with dissociation to improve health.

In this study the results show the pain is reduced more if people self touch rather than them being touched. I wonder/hope that the combination of body awareness work we do in biodynamic craniosacral therapy, plus the skilful nature of biodynamic touch, would trigger the experience of ‘coherent whole’ that seems to affect pain.

“We showed that levels of acute pain depend not just on the signals sent to the brain, but also on how the brain integrates these signals into a coherent representation of the body as a whole.

Self-touch provides strong evidence to the brain about the correlation of sensory information coming from different parts of the body.

This helps to give us the experience of our body as a coherent whole.”

Click here to read the full article  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11399254

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