If you’ve ever experienced pain understanding the latest science will change your experience.
Pain is complicated and it’s in your brain.
Scientific research clearly demonstrates that pain is not in the tissue, limb, muscle or any other part of our body. It’s an illusion that is constructed by the brain.
The purpose of pain is to protect you but it’s not always reliable as it’s tangled up with your thoughts and feelings. Our own stories and understandings of pain contribute to making our physical and mental experiences of acute or chronic pain vary enormously.
Chronic pain is especially complicated because it’s even harder to understand what’s going on.
When pain persists, we keep stimulating the neurons, or brain cells that produce pain and they get better at producing pain!
Australia’s Lorimer Moseley, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences tells us that as “our neurons become more and more sensitive, we need a smaller and smaller influence to create pain.” This illusion of increasing sensitivity becomes very unhelpful because the brain is trying to protect you from something that may not need protection anymore – but it’s very real.
Professor Moseley goes onto say that other networks in our brain and body become affected too – as they lose their capacity to be specific and precise so the pain spreads and its quality changes. It becomes uninformative and unhelpful.
Yoga provides several different pain reduction techniques that allow you to manage and reduce both acute and chronic pain.
You can also use yoga to change your relationship to pain, influencing your pain perception, improving pain tolerance and changing habitual ways of reacting to pain.
Depending on your experience of pain (acute, constant, intermittent, chronic, etc) a Yoga Therapist generally starts working with you to reduce the symptoms of pain to better support recovery. This can include working with your breath and or muscle tension, which influence your patterns of movement, through to being better able to manage your thoughts and emotions.
Yoga Therapy works well with western medical approaches as it relaxes the nervous system, decreases pain and increases our ability to manage the pain and our response to pain.
By taking the time to gently practice each day you start to reverse the physical, mental, and emotional damage caused by chronic pain.