Imagine, you are a collegiate track and field athlete. Your left foot hurts, and you can't run. If you can't run, you can't participate in what you love to do, you are deprived of spending time with your community, and you are banished to and labelled as the “injured crew”.
Does that resonate with anyone? Can't do what you love and live the life you want because of your pain?
How would you like to hear 9 words and get 80% relief??? No drugs, no injections, no fancy hands on magic therapies… just hearing 9 words. Sign me up! What is it about the 9 words this athlete heard that changed his pain? The magic words were this:
“You did break your foot, but it's healed now”
These 9 words reduced his brain's perception of threat; he now knows that his foot is safe. It's not broken and not in any danger. That means he can get out of the isolating injured reserve and return to running with his community of teammates knowing that he is not damaging his foot. This lifted his mood, reduced depression, and gives him permission to get back to doing what he loves. Isn't that amazing? Just hearing 9 words reduced his pain by 80%!! Change your perception of danger, and you change your pain. If it were that easy for us all, this world would be a very different place.
Remember, pain is a conscious experience produced by the brain, based upon perception of DANGER… if your brain thinks there is a threat and you are in danger, you will have pain. Sometimes the threat is real, sometimes it is only a perception. If you (consciously or subconsciously) perceive your body is in danger, you will have pain. 100% of the time, your pain is real, but not always an accurate indicator of the state of your body tissues. We have been conditioned to believe that pain means something in our body is damaged. Yet, the story about this particular athlete defies that logic. He thought his foot was broken, therefore he had pain. When he found out his foot was no longer damaged, his thought was changed (my foot is not broken), he had 80% less pain.
This story of my client fascinates me, as it did him. He and I had several conversations about “Explain Pain” and his understanding of how pain works was a crucial part of his recovery. There's so much more to pain than tissue damage!
Watch for my next class on "Breaking Down the Walls of Pain".