I attended a free public lecture on Wednesday night hosted by Arthritis Australia, the topic was, “Treating Pain Using The Brain”, presented by Dr. David Butler.
Anyone who has heard David present wouldn’t have been disappointed, addressing a topic with the potential for being a little tedious, he delivered his message in his trademark flamboyant, humorous fashion.
I believe Arthritis Victoria will be uploading this lecture to their website and I highly recommended those of you affected by, or treating persistent pain (chronic pain), to check it out.
Neuroplasticity – the brain & pain
If I can be so audacious as to summarise the key points:
1. Pain is not always a negative experience, it serves a purpose.
2. Sometimes it stays around for longer than we might expect, even after the point at which we would expect tissue damage to have healed. It becomes “persistent”.
3. Persistent pain is influenced by many factors in our lives, including the language we use to explain our pain. For example, “I’ve got an arthritic spine”, “my knee is worn out”, etc. It’s important to remember that many people with degeneration actually have NO PAIN and there are numerous studies to support this fact. Most people with degeneration don’t even know it, meaning degeneration may not be the cause of your pain.
4. This type of language can actually increase or prolong our pain by changing the wiring in our brain.
5. This wiring change can then result in experiencing pain in the absence of actual damage.
6. The WONDERFUL and REFRESHING thing is that we can rewire our brains and decrease and eliminate our persistent pain by obtaining a more complete and accurate understanding of our complaint and removing the negative language.
I understand that persistent pain is often a complex issue and I’m sure my summary hasn’t done David justice. So, I highly recommend visiting the Arthritis Victoria website and getting your hands on a copy of “Explain Pain” by David Butler. It might just change the way you think!