One of the things I really admire about Neil Pearson’s approach to chronic pain treatment is his optimism about our ability to re-train our nervous systems, once they’ve become sensitized to pain. Chronic pain is obviously not a cheerful topic. Those of us who’ve struggled with it know what it’s like to come home from … More Neil Pearson: Blending Optimism and Scientific Evidence
I know I may have mentioned this once or twice before on my blog (or in like every post), but in case you missed it: Neil Pearson‘s work changed my life. It all started when I met a physical therapist who had studied with Neil. This physical therapist opened my eyes to a relatively new … More Neil Pearson on Building Hope and Recovery
Central sensitization: the back story to just about every story I tell on this blog. I’ve written the phrase a million times, but always in passing, always with a link to an article somewhere else. I think it’s high time the topic gets its own post. Practice Makes Perfect We’ve all heard the phrase “practice … More What is central sensitization?
A frustrated family member asked me this question once, and it really stuck with me. As much as I believe in my own reasons for writing, it kind of freaked me out. What if other people are wondering the same thing? How can I have an entire series of posts about how my life was … More “Why are you writing about overcoming pain, when you’re still in pain?”
One of the things that’s helped me as a chronic pain sufferer is to learn all I can about the nervous system, as well as the research that is being done to someday develop more chronic pain treatments. It’s not so much that I needed to understand every word, so much as the fact that … More Nervous System Basics, Part 2: Excitatory vs Inhibitory
As I’ve said time and time again, I really feel that people living with chronic pain/fibromyalgia can benefit immensely from learning about how the body works. Even the feeling that you are just beginning to understand the complex processes making up your experience of pain can help give you a sense of control over things. … More Nervous System Basics
Today, Ruby shocked me by taking her first swim of 2014. It was awesome. As you may remember from my previous post about her, Ruby is my family’s 14-year-old Lab mix (she’ll be fifteen in July!). She is a spunky, spirited dog, but due to some benign tumors in her left hip, as well as … More The benefits of swimming in cold water
Ruby seemed to have a lot of energy this morning, so I decided to take her for a walk at our favorite spot. We walked for about half an hour– me all bundled up, and Ruby wearing her nice new $45 coat (oy!). The path was a bit slippery following yesterday’s snow storm. There was … More Do we feel more pain when we’re alone?
A pain neurotag has to do with our brains’ representations of pain. Individual people process pain differently, and many different factors affect how our brains process and store memories of painful events. I thought this was a great post from Human AntiGravity Suit on how two professional athletes might experience and store memories of injuries … More Pain Neurotags– Human AntiGravity Suit
It’s amazing how sometimes a piece of writing that’s only a few paragraphs long can help to clarify something you’ve been thinking about for a while. I found a great article on Body in Mind last night that I felt did a great job summarizing the concepts I’m trying to get at on this blog. … More How to Talk About Pain: Central Hypersensitivity
Let’s say you’re sightseeing at the Grand Canyon. You are with a trusted friend enjoying a scenic overlook when notice your friend is walking a little bit too close to the edge of the cliff. “Hey, watch out!” you say. You can see that no one else is standing that close to the edge. Your … More Understanding pain as an overprotective friend
I recently learned about a fascinating study that I had to share with you all. Researchers took two groups of people– professional violinists and regular, everyday people off the street– and pricked everyone’s index finger with a pin. The violinists reported feeling much more pain than the non-violinists, even though everyone’s finger was pricked in … More Violins and enhanced sensory maps
In my experience, the key to learning to work with your pain instead of against it is to learn to view pain as your body’s alarm system. In the developed world, most of us are privileged enough to have very little experience with pain. As children, we only feel pain when we’re at the doctor’s … More Understanding pain as your body’s alarm system
There are many theories behind what causes chronic pain. The one that has played the largest role in my own life involves the concept of neuroplasticity– the idea that the brain can change over time, and that in chronic pain sufferers, the brain actually becomes more sensitive to pain. In this post I will talk … More The Nervous System and Chronic Pain