How do fire walkers manage to cross hot coals seemingly feeling very little pain? They put themselves into a trance state before attempting the walk.
Have you ever wondered why pain always seems worse at night? How we deal with, and experience, pain depends on many factors. Our emotions such as stress and anxiety to anger and sadness, all affect how we feel pain. And then there is the way we have seen others deal with pain when we were children.
It is estimated that 25-40% of us suffer with chronic pain. The brain generates pain to alert us to some form a danger. In acute pain there is always tissue damage. For example if you sprain your ankle, the pain produced by the brain is to prevent us walking on the ankle and making it worse. But the brain is always assessing the situation. If you have sprained your ankle jumping out of a window of a house on fire and you need to get away quickly, you may not feel pain until you are well away from the fire.
Pain that lasts more than 3 mths is called chronic pain, either persistent or intermittent. There is no tissue damage, but for many different reasons the brain continues to produce the sensation of pain. It may be a distraction for other things that are going on in your life – marital disharmony, bullying at work, an ill relative.
The brain is made up a complex network of nerves and connections. This is constantly changing and reconnecting depending on what we are doing. This is called neuroplasticity. A professional pianist has a much denser network of connections in that part of the brain involved with hand movement compared to a non- pianist. So, the more you focus on your pain the worse it will get. And there is a tendency for chronic pain to get worse.
The brain is also capable of being conditioned. A good example is having eaten something you like that has made you sick. The next time you are offered it, you refuse. Your brain has linked that food with being ill. The brain will also do this with pain. If you injured your back when there was cold weather, the next time the weather is cold your back may hurt.
Another reason why pain tends to escalate is due to the brain’s ability to pattern match. Taking back pain again. If you hurt your back bending forward, the brain has decided that that movement is to be avoided as it will trigger pain again. But through pattern matching, making the bed, getting into the car, or even hoovering, because of the subtle bending forward, the brain will also produce pain with these activities. You find yourself becoming more and more limited in what you can do.
Hypnotherapy and EFT may help in a variety of ways. Simple relaxation techniques can be taught which you can use when you like, giving you a sense of control over your pain, rather than it controlling you. Any anxiety, fear and insomnia can be addressed as well as emotions and core beliefs underpinning the pain. Through Guided Imagery, pain can be re-framed. Specific activities and exercises can help to rewire the brain.
I have a variety of tools in my tool box, and one of my favourites is EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. What I love about this tool is that it is so simple and gentle and yet so powerful. It can be used on absolutely anything and it is a great self-help tool. It works
Out of the blue, after 20yrs in the same job, there is a change in management and Jeff starts to feel anxious about going into work. There have been some recent changes and a few redundancies. He no longer feels secure in his job, and he is finding it difficult to keep up with the
You have come off the phone from a conversation with a friend and your internal voice is raging at you. “You did it again! Why? Why? Why? I thought you said you wouldn’t do that again.” You feel angry with yourself, disappointed maybe, or even ashamed. You had promised yourself you would never EVER behave
Do you toss and turn at night? Unable to sleep because you can’t switch your mind off? This is a very common problem, especially if lives have become busy or work is stressful. A very simple activity to help with this is to write a journal last thing at night prior to going to sleep.
It was so embarrassing. I was sure it was Judy, this morning in town. I saw this woman in the queue in the post office as I was leaving. I was so pleased, because I hadn’t seen her for ages, and we get on really well. She had her back to me, but when I
We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, and we have all experienced what it feels like after a bad night. And if I were to ask you why this is important you would probably say it is to recharge our batteries. But what does “recharging our batteries” actually mean? There are