Resetting the Alarm
(Workbook Page 27)
Pain is meant to be an alarm system that warns a person of danger that will cause harm or destroy the body. It is the way we survive our environment. That all changes when pain becomes the disease process that creates alterations in nervous system structures, transmission of signals and pain perception and sensation. Persistent pain signaling and processing becomes the main event taking place in the body. It recruits neurons in the brain and allocates increased energy to maintain itself. The only way to overcome this process is to reverse it by repetitively and relentlessly activating the brain with counter stimulating and soothing signals. In this way, pain can take its rightful place and become a danger signal once again, rather than being the danger itself.
This is the simplest way to view what happens when acute pain transforms to persistent pain. In this animation the same ares of the brain are involved in pain processing in both acute and persistent pain, but the brain real estate in those ares dramatically increases when acute pain becomes persistent. There are many processes taking place that lead to this transformation, but the expansion of brain real estate dedicated to pain processing is one of the main neuroplastic outcomes. It is also an excellent target for intervention and restoration of normal function via repetitive counter-stimulation.