Using Belief for Pain Relief
(Workbook Page 49, 50)
Life changes once people believe they can be pain free.
Surprising to most, our beliefs are located in the sensory part of our brains. This is likely because our brains first wire to sensory experience and the reality of these experiences leads to our belief systems. Later, as we mature, thoughts, ideas and culture contribute to our beliefs. Beliefs are strongly held and are tied into our perceptions of reality. Persistent pain is a sensory experience that causes pain to lose both its meaning and the necessity of a peripheral stimulus. This can be altered by changing what we choose to believe about our pain's persistence. Once it is understood that persistent pain is not inevitable or "normal," it's effects can be diminished or stopped.
An active approach to meet every pain spike with the belief that it can be stopped is the foundation for patients taking control of their lives. It may take a while to take control, but practice, repetition, relentlessness, adaptability and belief in yourself will result in pain relief. To do so, your brain and body have to work together as increasingly seamless parts of the entire whole. Pay attention to the pain and recognize it for what it truly is, a short circuit in a very useful system. Believe the brain can be rewired.
See yourself as moving through the phases of treatment. Your treatment will vary whether you are in the Rescue, Adjustment, Functionality or Transformation phase of care. The belief that medication management is all that is left for the treatment of persistent pain is flawed. Medication management and interventional treatments are methods we employ to move patients from the Rescue phase into the Adjustment phase. These are steps to being able to control pain, while they are applying neuroplastic strategies to overcome pain. Each has its place, but neither is the foundation of treatment.
Do not settle for partial pain control. Stabilizing out of control pain is essential, but so is the belief that we can end pain persistence. Remember that all beliefs require a leap of faith at some point. This is that point. This cannot be a thinly held belief, but must be unshakable. Your pain will try to shake it over and over and you must teach your brain and your body that it is the belief and experience of abnormal pain that is to be disbelieved.
Do not give into your fear. This must be actively rejected. Believe that you can rebuild your pain tolerance and increase your pain threshold. Tell your brain and peripheral body to wait until the pain becomes much worse before they recognize it is there. Break the pain down to its other components, pressure, movement, vibration, position, temperature, touch. Do not be afraid of your pain. Look at it as information provided by your body, and treat it as an opportunity to practice to overcome it.