My life finally changed six years into my struggle, when I found an amazing physical therapist who was able to help me understand my pain.
Tim had been trained in a relatively new approach to chronic pain treatment, called pain neurophysiology education (or PNE for short).
PNE is based on the principles of modern pain science. The idea that learning how the nervous system works can change how a person views his or her pain. Pain normally operates outside of our conscious control, but with a little bit of knowledge, the patient can begin to control how he or she responds to it. This can help to weaken the vicious cycle that people with chronic pain are caught in.
In this section of the blog, I will be discussing some of the things I learned in treatment, and how I incorporate them into my own life.
The main concepts of PNE:
- What is pain neurophysiology education?
- The core message of pain neurophysiology education
- Understanding pain as your body’s alarm system
- Understanding pain as an overprotective friend
- Why am I writing about overcoming pain, when I’m still in pain?
- Resource list: scientific articles on pain neurophysiology education
How a physical therapist helped me through my lowest point (the story of my own experience as a patient):
- Hitting rock bottom
- Finally, an approach that made sense
- Why we need different treatments for acute vs. chronic pain
- When the brain thinks everything is dangerous
- At the intersection of pain and mental health
- Readjusting my concept of what is “dangerous”
- The importance of exercise that doesn’t increase pain
- The one caveat, and looking toward the future
- How I’ve (mostly) made sense of my issues