My back hurts, but why does my brain hurt?
During acute pain, there are many things going on in a person’s body and brain. Nerves are firing, sending signals from the area of pain to the brain. Blood rushes to the area, causing inflammation. Endorphins and hormones are released to deal with the pain. And the brain goes into a fight or flight mode. That is a lot of things happening at once when someone sprains an ankle, stubs a toe, or bumps into the corner of a table.
Now think of all those things happening at the same time, for a long period of time. That can be exhaustive on the internal body processes and the workings of the brain. Chronic pain can be just as, if not more, mentally exhausting then the feeling of the pain. Not only are there constant behind the scenes workings happening, but a person with chronic pain will begin to always think about their pain.
Chronic pain can limit a person from doing the things they used to love doing. It can stop a person from doing daily activities, or chores, and errands. When we can’t do what we love doing, it can cause depression. A person with chronic pain, can also begin worrying about flaring up the chronic injury, which can cause anxiety. Thinking in the past, what happened or what we used to be able to do is “depression”. Thinking in the future about the “what ifs” and over planning to mitigate possibly flare ups is “anxiety”.
We must deal with pain in real time – that means adapting what we are doing, to align with what our bodies are able to do with out pain. Pain should not hold us back from living life! I will give a personal example of adapting my daily activities/movements for my own chronic pain. I have chronic back issues – these issues can cause daily pain where the only relief is rest/sleep to relax the muscle spasms. My work as an RMT has me constantly standing and moving, which can trigger a flare up. If this happens while I am working on a client, it effects the quality of treatment I can provide to that client and the remaining clients during that day.
So don’t limit your life and daily activities because of chronic pain. Adjust what you are doing, how you move, and how you rehabilitate your pain – you can continue with life and enjoy life! Your control your body!
DC Boudreau RMT
Boudreau Business Inc Clinic Owner