Have you been in pain for months and months? Do you feel like you’ve been passed from pillar to post, with doctors offering a multitude of pain-killers, a few sessions of acupuncture, perhaps a steroid injection or two, but nothing ever seems to change? Perhaps you get some relief for a week or two and then the pain comes back like an unwanted guest who can’t seem to stay away. If this sounds like you then it may be that the root of the problem is that you have not been given a strategy. Once you have been in pain for more than three months, you have persistent pain and it is being perpetuated by changes which occur in your brain. It is only by tackling those changes that you will get a lasting solution.
This strategy offers you a route out of pain, and in fact it is like a journey that you must undertake to get to that desired destination of freedom from pain. You are already on a journey: it is one which seems to take you back past the same old signposts time and again. These include new drugs, new treatments (which can include osteopathy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, and a host of other complementary therapies), the pain clinic, CBT…
It also includes the Pit of Despond, the Valley of Disuse and Disability, the Chasm of Catastrophisation, Lake Avoidance. However your journey can change to a new route, the Road to Recovery, which is possible when you have a strategy. This is the three-legged launch pad which will get you started on the route out of pain and towards living a life which is built around your values rather than being controlled by pain.
- Understanding how pain works: this is something you can do by reading, watching videos, talking with professionals/clinicians. There is more information about pain mechanisms here and here.
- Activity (guided by your values): the Australians have a saying “motion is lotion”. Movement is important for the health of the body and contributes to mental health as well. For the journey out of pain, we are talking about activity which is directed by your values, putting the pain behind you so that you can do more of the things that matter to you.
- Respect for pain (rather than fear): pain has an important role to play when you first injure yourself. However when it becomes persistent it can become counter-productive. Fear of pain can hold you back and so it is important to replace that fear with respect. This will emerge from a fuller understanding of pain and it is promoted by mindfulness.
The new BrainWorks Persistent Pain Programme at BIHC uses all three of these “legs” to help you on your journey out of pain. It is based on the work of the Neuro-Orthopedic Institute (NOI), and the OsteoMAP programme developed by the British School of Osteopathy. BrainWorks offers you a chance to build your own three-legged launch pad during a course of six sessions combining osteopathic treatment with desensitisation techniques developed by NOI, which are designed to turn down the volume on the pain.
To introduce the concepts which lie behind BrainWorks, I will be offering a three-hour workshop where you will be able to learn about how pain works, explore the reasons why your pain won’t go away and start to develop a strategy for managing your pain and getting it under control.
During the workshop you will be learning about how the brain decides whether or not pain is an appropriate response in any situation, and how the different parts of the brain work together to produce the experience of pain. You will get a chance to explore your pain triggers and we’ll look at the measures you can take to start the journey out of pain and towards doing the things that matter to you.
If you’re interested please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01234 409538 and leave a message, and I will call you back as soon as I can.
Sorrel Pindar, Registered Osteopath and Clinic Director