The Mind and Chronic Pain

The Hurt Locker: How Our Minds Can Successfully Control Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a combination of the pain that a person initially felt and the way the mind reacts to that pain. Over time, our minds develop an ability to sense pain that our body isn’t feeling. This doesn’t mean that the pain is all in our minds, but that our minds are creating the pain that we feel based on the pain that we used to experience. It is similar to how people used to remember phone numbers. Initially, you would forget the number, but after calling it between 20 and 30 times, your mind remembered the number without much prompting. The brain reacts the same way to pain that was once stimulated by the nerves, recalling that pain even when the source of the pain is no longer an issue. Over time, your brain is so accustomed to responding to the pain that it believes that you are experiencing the same problem without any actual stimulus.

Pain has two purposes: it lets you know when something is wrong and hurting you, and it reminds you that you have not healed. You feel pain when you initially sprain your ankle, then every time you try to use your ankle before it has recovered. It is this second purpose that causes people to feel chronic pain because your brain does not recognize that the initial problem and recuperation are complete. Pain caused by damaged nerves are more likely to cause chronic pain as the nervous system no longer functions as it should. Sufferers can feel like they are getting a shock to the affected area, increasing their discomfort and the way the brain processes the pain.

Working with patients on training their brains to ignore the pain without the use of medication, particularly opioids. Treatments like hypnosis or focusing on something else can help patients to teach their brains not to be so focused on pain that is no longer there or that is less severe. Exercise is often used as a way to help get patients to think of something else as it proves that their body can still function, and gives their minds both an activity and other sensations to focus on during the exercise.

Chronic pain tends to cause several mental problems, particularly depression and anxiety as it seems like the patients will have to deal with the pain for the rest of their lives. This creates a downward spiral that makes the patients focus more on the pain, which makes them feel more

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