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Chronic Pain

Pain is complex, and whilst we feel pain in the body this does not mean that pain originates from the body!

Mind blown?!

The brain decides if we are going to feel pain or not!

Mind blown!?!

Imagine waking barefoot in a countryside pub garden and you feel a sharp pain on the sole of your foot, even without looking you know that the likely cause of pain is that you have stood on broken glass. You look down and your foot is bleeding. This is an acute injury is an example of nociceptive pain and the brain has produced a pain response due to the importance of stopping blood flow.

Change the situation up a bit…and you are now being chased by a multiple headed monster! You still have a cut foot that is bleeding, but your brain has decided that it is more important for you to run away from the looming predator and therefore does not alert you to your cut foot with pain.

Mind blown yet?!

Let’s continue with this scenario…you survive the predator and will never visit that pub again or walk barefoot in any pub garden EVER again! Your cut heals and you experience no pain from that cut EVER again! The body is so clever it knows exactly what to do to heal a cut, and your brain now pays no more attention to the healed foot as the brain now feels safe.

But what about the person whose cut has healed but continues to feel pain where the cut was a year on?! The foot pain might move to heel pain, and they are told by a well-meaning health practitioner that they have plantar fasciitis and they should wear a foot splint at night, stop running (which they love), or taking a long leisurely walk (which they love also). They do everything that they are told to do but still have pain. Although the pain might be there one moment and gone the next umm…because they are moving less and are not enjoying walks in nature, they put on weight, feel sad, they stop socialising as much, and their sleep is disturbed due to pain and their foot being splinted. We have now stepped into the world of…

This is confusing because you are being treated for plantar fasciitis but are still in pain a year after cutting your foot. Could it be that there is more to being a human than just the body? Might we perhaps be complex and have been exposed to a wealth of influences and experiences that have created the individual YOU?! Umm…based on our history might the brain be a nanosecond ahead of us (always!) and predict the best fit to match the current external environment and situation, and our physical and mental health? Our brain is a predicting machine!

Most chronic primary pain conditions are nociplastic.

Mind blown again!

Nociplastic (also known as neuroplastic) pain is the brain in overdrive and alerting you through the medium of pain that “Something is different”! But this something is usually more than just one thing and have their roots in emotional dysregulation; such as anxiety, stress, past trauma, job dissatisfaction, relationship issues, perfectionism…the list is long! The brain feels unsafe, but you can RECOVER from chronic pain with Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT)!

A randomised controlled study published in JAMA Psychiatry (2021) compared PRT with placebo and usual care amongst participants who suffered with chronic lower back pain. The results revealed that 66% of participants after engaging in the four-week PRT psychological treatment, were pain-free or nearly pain-free post-treatment. In 2023 research confirmed the link between the reduction in pain and the changing belief that pain is caused by the brain rather than a structural problem with the body. This change occurred due to the clients practicing pain reprocessing therapy! 

Caroline is a PRT therapist and founder of Move with Ease. Caroline works with clients from her garden studio in the tranquil village of Laddingford, Kent in-person or online. Caroline runs live and online small group ‘Chronic Pain Freedom with Pain Reprocessing Therapy’. With the next course starting in September at the early-bird price of £129 for eight 1-hour sessions. You can book for a FREE online consultation to discuss your needs or secure your spot on the next course by heading direct to the Move with Ease website.

Caroline Miller

07596 107341

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