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algology = the science and study of pain.
allodynia = known as other pain, meaning pain from stimuli that are not painful. (Excerpt Fall Devotions) >>
Our brain springs into action when it receives a message that a threat has or is about to occur. It immediately begins to orchestrate the healing process and return our body to its non-pain state. But, unlike acute pain, our brain's perception of chronic pain (pain that lasts three months or more) is different. The alarm is stuck in the on position. We don’t know why this is. Maybe when our brain jumps into action, the body is not able to heal, or micro-trauma continues to send messages that the brain cannot deal with effectively. Regardless of why, we know chronic pain is real.
“Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience
arising from actual or potential tissue damage or
described in terms of such damage.”
~The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP)
It’s possible to have pain without tissue injury. Migraine, something I have survived for almost fifty years is a good example of this. The brain does not show injury like with a stroke, but the symptoms and pain are real.
We don't all process pain the same, either. Spinal disease is an example. Some of us have excruciating pain, while others with the same disease process may experience other symptoms, but not pain. Some say an EMG, the test where they use all the needles to check how nerves are firing, is a very painful test, while others, such as me, don’t feel pain from a needle at all. Yet, something as simple as a light chill, a stimulus that is very benign to others, can make me go haywire. It doesn’t make much sense, does it?
Maybe it has to do with the perception of chronic pain in each individual brain.
Our brain also works from memories. How have we reacted to injury in the past? Is it possible our upbringing affects how our brain deals with life events, including pain? I wish I could explain why that is, but I am not a neuroscientist.
I have learned to accept things simply because “IT IS WHAT IT IS.” I have a disease called chronic pain. It is real; the pain is real. Chronic pain could result from the brain’s perception of trained behaviors, but until we know exactly why and how our brain learns to perceive pain, there won’t be a cure.
What IS Chronic Pain?
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What Does Bio-Psychosocial Mean?
Coping strategies can vary among each of us. I write as a way of coping, others learn new hobbies that fit their abilities. What matters most... Read on >>
Chronic pain begins in the brain, that’s right, and there is science to prove it! It can’t be cured by conscious thought, but meditating offers our brain some down time from the constant bombardment of pain messages. It’s good for everyone. It lowers blood pressure and heart rate and fosters helpful body speak along that messaging highway between the body and the brain. Chronic pain is now being studied as a disease. So next time someone suggests your pain is all in your head, say “You’re Right! How did you know? I have a disease that makes me hurt, messes with my brain and like heart disease, diabetes, or other illnesses, there is no cure."
While we can’t cure it, we can do the same things people with other chronic disease do, we can learn to manage it. Our brain makes many decisions during the day including how to react to the messages it receives from our body. Tissue damage is not what causes us to feel pain; it is determined solely by our brain’s perception and interpretation of signals sent via chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Some of us have memory problems. I know I sure do, and our memory and our emotions are determined in the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord). Those of us who live with chronic pain know exactly what it can do to our overall well-being. Having pain that lasts longer than three to six months isn’t just a physical thing; it also affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
It Really Is All in Our Head