Brain & Pain

If you, or a loved one, are one of the estimated 116 million Americans with chronic pain, then you appreciate what a game changer pain can be when it comes to things like performing daily activities, functioning at work, or trying to exercise...
If you are reading this post, you are probably already well-versed on how chronic pain can interrupt your own, or a loved one’s, ability to perform simple activities and function on a day to day basis. You may even start off your day dreading the thought of just trying to get through it. When we hurt, we tend to shut down physically and even emotionally. It is our natural tendency to protect a part of our body that has been injured or is...
Happy Valentine’s Day! Research suggests that love can be good medicine and behave like a powerful medication. In fact, you may remember hearing about the results of a Stanford study released last October which showed that the experience of romantic love actually reduced pain symptoms.
Chronic pain can destroy your emotional and social well-being, but can mood and outlook also help you get to the path of recovery? Chronic Pain Bringing You Down? Chronic pain can wreak havoc on the body. And it can do the same to the mind by creating dysfunctional noises and tipping the scales away from faith and toward fear, leaving us with heavy emotions that blanket our true spirits.
Sometimes patients are startled when I tell them that they’ve already been given a powerful pain medicine. “Was it some injection or pill?” they ask. I explain that this “medicine” is and always has been within them, waiting to be put to use. We know that we come equipped with our own antibodies to fight infections, but where inside are we hiding this magical potion to treat pain? The answer lies within the mind.
Imagine that instead of being a sophisticated member of the Homo sapiens species, you are a zebra roaming the Serengeti region of Africa. Your typical day involves waking up, sipping some organic pond water, and munching on grass, which is your favorite dish. Now let’s suppose that in the midst of your blissful day you suddenly see a lion coming your way, and she thinks that you look like her favorite dish. What happens next? You run like mad!
One of the most important lessons I offer my patients is to help them see that every emotion is preceded by a thought. This is a basic principle of modern psychology. How you feel at any given moment is the product of whatever thoughts your mind has recently created. Leaving your emotions to the mercy of angry, repetitive “noise” will perpetuate negative emotions like rage, depression, and agitation and keep you from experiencing happiness and...

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