The human brain possesses incredible potential to influence our experience of pain. Though often overlooked, techniques leveraging the mind-body connection can significantly minimize pain’s burden. From altering thought patterns to controlling physiology, mental skills provide patients with tools to take an active role in managing discomfort. Integrating mind-body modalities into treatment plans equips patients to thrive despite persistent pain.
Understanding Pain Processing
To harness mental approaches, it helps first to understand how pain works. Acute pain signals real or potential injury, activating the body’s protective responses. However, chronic pain persists long after tissues have healed, often with no ongoing cause identifiable. Imaging reveals the brain itself driving chronic pain, not damage in the back, nerves, or joints.
The brain controls our pain experience based on the interplay between sensory pathways, thoughts, emotions, memories, and stress response. This malleability means we can dial pain up or down by changing how the … Read the rest