I want to start by telling you a short story about myself. In September of 2018, I aggravated a muscle in my forearm during a routine exercise. Initially, I thought this would go away on its own, however, four weeks later, I was losing sleep, waking up in the middle of the night in pain, I was feeling anxious because it wasn't getting better and I felt slightly depressed and hopeless. I have lived with chronic pain for more than six months before finding a cure.
WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN
Firstly chronic pain is not acute pain, which is what you feel immediately after impact or injury. This is a pain that lasts longer than six months, and it occurs in addition to the pain of the original health condition. Chronic pain is pain that has become independent of the underlying injury or illness that started it all. The original underlying condition may or may not have healed. It doesn't matter.
Once the pain has become chronic,
the attempts to fix the underlying injury or illness tend to fail
because the pain has developed into a mental barrier. The mistake
that patients and some healthcare providers make is to think that
chronic pain is just a long-lasting version of acute pain. However,
chronic pain is pain that has taken on a life of its own.
A life of its own that we (the patient) have created without even knowing it because it's happening subconsciously. Central sensitization occurs when the nervous system, including the brain, becomes stuck in a persistent state of reactivity that makes the nervous system highly sensitive to stimuli. This will occur when a simple task, for example in my case holding my phone to my ear, holding a cup of water, driving, and shaking hands to greet someone would replicate pain in my elbow and reality, none of these movements should cause any sensation of pain. This heightened sensitivity of the nervous system is called hyperalgesia.
There is hope for those who suffer from chronic pain, and I would highly recommend a program that provides integrative treatments that include multiple therapies, including physiologist, cognitive behavioural therapies, pool therapies, mild aerobic exercise, relaxation exercises, medication management and tapering of pain killer medications. The objective of these therapies is to target the nervous system. The therapies aim to down-regulate the nervous system, thereby reducing central sensitization and therefore reduce pain.
Finally, to finish my personal story, I found a cure that worked for me by seeking advice from a trusted Exercise Physiologist. He performed a test on my elbow by marking three spots A, being the spot with the most pain, B and C being about 2-3 centimetres away from point A in different directions. He then asked me to close my eyes and used a black marker to draw dots on the areas I felt pain. When I opened my eyes and saw that there was no consistency to the dots, this made me realise that I was demonstrating hyperalgesia. From that point on I did some research and changed my pattern of thinking, I changed the words I used to describe pain, I trained my brain to shift its focus, and now there is no looking back. I was healed overnight.
Fundamentally the purpose of this article is to open your eyes and minds to alternative therapies. Strong pain killers and surgery should always be the last resort.