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  • Tania Suzuki

Pain and the brain

I have been very busy for the past months seeing more and more clients in persistent pain every day. Many of them are in such intense pain that they cannot even work anymore, they don't engage in leisure activities anymore and find themselves socially isolated... Pain has become their only companion... They have gone from clinician to clinician, tried all possible interventions and have not found relief. They continue to see their walls shrinking on them.

A very common frustration my clients bring to me when they arrive is that they have been told that their pain is all in their heads, as if they were told that their pain was not real. In fact, I can totally appreciate how irritating it must be to hear that... It may make you feel dismissed, unheard and mistreated, since for you it is so clear that this pain has been impacting all dimensions of your life, sometimes so intensely! In addition, the very idea that pain is in your head, might leave you with the idea that there is not much that can be done about it. And, in fact, many health care providers don't really know what to do for pain beyond trying to change the state of the tissues in the body, and then they end up sounding dismissive of you and your pain...

The good news is that, when we do accept that pain has to do with the brain, as much as all other experiences we have, we find many other things that can be done to change pain. The first one is expanding the focus beyond issues in the tissues and trying to understand this: if pain is not in my head, what is in my head?

Professor Paul Hansma brings an interesting perspective in his videos. Here is the first one:

I find this video a very useful resource for people to start their journey towards getting to know the functioning of their own brains and nervous systems. In my work I offer support in this journey.

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