Conquering the Jedi Mind Tricks of Chronic Pain
Accidents happen to everyone, either from sports, or everyday life. Wisdom on how the body works after injury will help you cope during the process. Inflammation plays a key role in the healing process, as well as creating scar tissue that leads to chronic pain. Understanding the body reacts after trauma will give upperhand in the healing and help to avoid unnecessary pain. Rehabilitation is a painstaking process with many obstacles.
Inflammation is a natural reaction of the bodies immune system after a traumatic event. It is responsible for restoring injured areas of the body back to natural working order. There are different stages of inflammation and each stage has different needs.
Healing after a traumatic event is possible, and it takes a mind, body approach. Breaking the pain cycle and healing chronic pain takes as much mental effort as it does physical.
Phases of Inflammation, What You Need to Know
Although inflammation is a natural response to injury, if left untreated it slows, stops, and even reverses the healing process. There are multiple stages of inflammation Acute, Subacute, and Chronic. Each phase of inflammation needs a different approach to healing.
- Acute Inflammation Phase – Changes in the body are physically visible. Swelling, redness, and bruising is typical. Circulation in the affected area becomes hindered. Symptoms include pain, muscle spasms, numbness. Range of motion becomes inhibited at the subconscious level to prevent further injury.
- Subacute Inflammation Phase – There is a significant reduction in swelling and bruising. Most of the toxic residue left over from cellular respiration and tissue repair has been removed. Inflammation becomes less physically visible, but can be just as painful.
- Chronic Inflammation Phase – Most signs of bruising, redness and swelling are gone. Soft tissue (Muscles, Tendons, Ligaments, Fascia, Super Fascia and Nerves) in the affected area have undergone remodeling.
Scar Tissue is A Major Factor in the Pain Fear Cycle and has Potential to Start A Domino Effect of Problems
Tissue adhesions (scar tissue) are formed during these phases of inflammation. Scar tissue often has excess fibroblasts, fibrocytes, and collagen formation. Soft tissues begin to adhere to areas of the body where they do not belong. When excess soft tissue adheres in places where it is not supposed to this creates Distorted Movement Patterns, and eventually Synergystic Dominance through arthrokinetic muscular chains.
An in depth look shows that excess tissue from the adhesion process creates muscular imbalances, synergistic dominance, arthrokinetic dysfunction and eventually postural distortion patterns.
Altered movement within the body creates more adhesions which lead to altered force couple relationships (Human Movement System HMS) and further perpetuate muscle imbalances which lead to more problems. Any altered movement of the body leads to premature soft tissue degradation, soft tissue detachment, joint deterioration and eventually skeletal deterioration.
Physical degradation of the body is only one problem. Mental anguish from not being able to move around normally also plagues patients. It is not uncommon for most to exhibit signs of depression, and hopelessness with a dependency on drugs to take the pain away. However, all the drugs do is slow down or stop the healing process from within. There is hope and there are ways to heal chronic pain.
Chronic Pain Plays Jedi Mind Tricks
On top of all the physical problems, the subconscious mind becomes conditioned to fear pain and will do anything to avoid it. In light of research, studies have shown that the subconscious mind is capable of emulating symptoms of the initial injury.
Pain in the body after injury is important as it serves as a critical indicator for movement, and the bodies condition. Moreover, pain functions as a signal that sends the conscious mind messages about the body. Furthermore, when pain medications are ingested, signals sent to the mind regarding pain are numbed down. In brief, this compounds injury further as the bodies natural regulatory signals are not in place. With pain medication, the patient forgets about the injury because of a lack of communication from the nervous system to the subconscious mind. In short, patients will not limit behaviors that have the potential to be detrimental to existing injury.
Furthermore, medications stop the bodies natural healing process by slowing down the metabolism. In turn this prohibits foods from getting absorbed properly. Nutrient absorption stops because of the altered cytosolic process. Not only is the body not getting vital nutrition to heal, but the heart rate slows down. This process further prohibits oxygen and nutrient flow to the afflicted area.
TMS causes the already lowered substandard of life to degrade further. In either case it takes an integrative mind body approach to heal
A Mind Body Approach Gives You the Upper Hand in Rehabilitation
Not only is there pain from the injury, but patients also develop of a fear of pain. At the subconscious level, the mind sends signals to the body to restrict blood flow, as well as oxygen absorption to the area. During an episode, the body reproduces the tensions similar from the original injury.
Symptoms related to the Pain Fear Cycle are known as Tension Myositis Syndrome. Even thoughts about pain sends subconscious signals to the area of injury. Blood vessels constrict, muscles spasm, and a plethora of other symptoms that can occur. Extra tension combined with pre existing scar tissue makes any kind of locomotion much more challenging. Pain is not an enemy, it serves as a signal to tell you when you either need to push through something or rest through it.
TMS is a natural self-defense mechanism that evolved as a protection mechanism to save the body from further injury. Reacting to the fear of pain produces similar symptoms to those during the original injury. Overcoming this fear is necessary in order to heal the body and regain a normal life. All things considered, developing willpower is an advantage in the healing process as it is as much a mental process as it is physical.
Healing Chronic Pain is Possible, Ancient Mind Body Practices Like Yoga Guide the Way
Soft tissue with adhesion has excess fibroblasts, fibrocytes, and collagen build up. In order to reconstruct soft tissue, the inflammation process needs to go back to phase I. Guided Static stretching through physical rehabilitation is the conventional method to restart the remodelling phase. However due to TMS, rehabilitation has limits, leaving an excess of soft tissue growth from the original injury. Since scar tissue is brittle, even the slightest wrong movement can further injure the area. In short this creates more fear of injury further perpetuating the pain fear cycle.
Thinking about pain triggers an episode, inhibiting the patient from making a full recovery. When it comes to breaking the pain fear cycle, mind body practices have definite advantages. Ancient mind body practices offer physical, and mental training to aide in the relief and healing of symptoms. Physical practice serves as an effective form of rehabilitation as the poses are modifiable for any need. Classical Sivananda or BKS Iyengar Yoga has poses over 840,000 poses alone.
Other than physical training, mind body practices offer breathwork and meditation exercises that helps patients deal with and overcome pain. In light of research, developing mindfulness and awareness are critical tools that aide patients suffering from chronic pain. Studies have shown that with mind training there is greater neuropsychological control.
Healing QiGong for Chronic Pain – Activate your bodies healing potential
QiGong Meditation helps control chronic pain, this breathwork article guides the way.
Check out this standing meditation guide