The Mind Body Connection
There is a widespread belief that all pain must have a physical cause. However, this is not true. The mind and body are inextricably linked so where, at one point in time, hidden stresses were being blamed for exacerbating and prolonging illnesses and pain, now research is revealing how they are actually causing the symptoms to manifest in the first place.
The latest research in neuro science explains how real symptoms can manifest in the body from a process that starts in the brain. Pain and other symptoms can manifest due to learned neuro pathways that develop in response to stress, trauma and repressed negative emotions, these symptoms then go on to be maintained unconsciously by the brain and nervous system.
Thank you to Liz Dyde for the image
Dr David Schechter, author of ‘Think Away Your Pain’ cites that functional MRIs show that chronic pain activates the amygdala and prefrontal cortex part of the brain responsible for emotional processing. So because the pain is not due to a physical cause, healing cannot take place with medication and physical therapy alone but the altered neural pathways in the brain need healing too.
Pain/symptoms that result due to the above process are referred to as Mind-Body Symptoms. However, you may also come across the following terms that are being used by Health Practitioners and Doctors around the world dealing with Mind Body Symptoms which are essentially referring to the same thing: Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS), Tension Myoneural Syndrome (TMS), Psychophysiologic Disorder (PPD) or Stress-illnesses, Stress-Induced Conditions.
The late Dr John Sarno who was the pioneer behind this work coined the phrase TMS. He worked successfully with thousands of patients, suffering from chronic pain mostly, and went on to write 4 best-selling books on this topic. My own healing journey began when I discovered the work of this amazing person who effectively helped me to regain my life.
Watch this short video which is a trailer produced for his Documentary 'All The Rage'.
My own recovery from debilitating back pain inspired me to train in the field of Mind-Body Medicine as a SIRPA Practitioner (Stress Illness Recovery Practitioners’ Association) which is allowing me to help others to similarly regain their lives.
Trained by Georgie Oldfield, author of ‘Chronic Pain: Your Key to Recovery’ and founder of SIRPA, Georgie herself trained with the late Dr John Sarno after discovering many anomalies in her own work as a Physiotherapist where often her patients’ MRI results did not correlate with the symptoms they presented with.
The process starts in the brain leading ultimately to real symptoms in the body which can often be debilitating, as was the case with my own back pain.
The good news is that no matter how long you have suffered these symptoms, or how debilitating they are, if the true cause behind them is due to conditioned neural pathways (as in most cases) and not a pathology in the body then then it is very likely that you can become pain free.
This is due to Neuroplasticity which allows us to re-condition neural pathways in the brain and replace with healthier neural pathways.
Once we develop healthier neural pathways, studies have shown this can help to alleviate chronic pain/persistent symptoms.
Once we understand the above, this provides an explanation for many of the aforementioned anomalies that exist regarding chronic pain.
So the first step is to understand that your pain is NOT automatically due to an ongoing problem in the area that hurts but the altered nerve pathways.