You will find just sharing your pain will be most therapeutic. #physiotherapy

37m37 minutes ago

There are many myths surrounding back pain, read our guide ’10 things you need to know about your back’ with the latest physio advice:

Cleveland Clinic: The connection between pain and your brain:

cleveland chronic back pain

Chronic Back Pain? You May Find Relief With Behavioral Medicine

Understanding the brain’s relationship to pain

No pain, no gain? Not true for people suffering from chronic back pain. Instead, it’s the opposite: Back pain is one of the main causes of missed work (and missed paychecks).

But could the key to coping with chronic back pain be in your mind? “We actually know that pain is not just a sensory, or physical, experience,” says psychologist Sara Davin, PsyD, MPH. “It is also an emotional experience.”

Dr. Davin explains how you can harness your pain management super-powers by understanding the very real connection between pain and your thoughts.

The 411 on the mind-back pain connection

To understand how it all works, think of pain’s purpose. Pain is your brain’s way of alerting you that something is wrong, whether it’s a stubbed toe or a slipped disk.

How your brain processes an injury, then shares that information, has a direct connection to the level of pain you feel. You’re aware of pain because your brain tells you it’s there. (Psst — your brain also controls your thoughts and emotions.)

“Pain is processed in the brain and the central nervous system. Both have areas connected to the sensory experience, but both also have areas connected to the emotional experience,” Dr. Davin explains. “The sensory and emotional go together to create the output of one’s experience of pain. So to comprehensively treat chronic back pain, we have to look at both sides.”

And while traditional treatments like medications and physical therapy can take the edge off, they often ignore the elephant in the room: your thoughts.

“Managing back pain with behavioral medicine strategies might even prevent the pain from becoming chronic,” Dr. Davin states.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy for pain?

CBT for pain is talk therapy’s more specialized cousin. It’s a behavioral medicine strategy that teaches people how to:

  • Make the connection between how they think about their pain and the way they interpret it.
  • Understand how pain impacts their emotions.
  • Choose coping skills to help with how they function and behave.

Still not sold? Dr. Davin gives this example: Someone who feels that their pain is unbearable may cope by lying in bed and isolating themselves from activities they value. “This cycle can go on and on,” she explains. “The person becomes more helpless and then, from a physical standpoint, becomes weaker. Naturally, they now have even more pain.”

With CBT, that helpless feeling (and associated pain) is kicked to the curb because pain psychologists teach people how to:

  • Pace activities so they don’t overdo it.
  • Practice relaxation and meditation to decrease pain and stress.
  • Soothe their central nervous system, which increases the feeling of pain when under stress.

The proof is in the pudding. Dr. Davin runs an interdisciplinary program that uses physical therapy and CBT to treat chronic back pain. Patients participate in this program for 4 to 10 weeks, depending upon their progress.

“Folks in the program were better when compared to physical therapy alone,” she reports. “We have consistently seen significant improvements across all quality of life measures, including how much pain interferes with someone’s life, levels of fatigue, anxiety and depression, plus improvements in pain-related disability.”

Interestingly, one of the metrics that improves the most in the program is how satisfied participants are in their social roles. “In our program we teach people how to start having fun again and connected with others,” Dr. Davin notes. “I suspect this is why we see people wanting to be more socially active after the program.”

3 ways to put this new knowledge into action

Here’s how you can incorporate behavioral medicine strategies into your back pain management:

  1. Find a good pain management doctor. “You want a doctor who helps you rehabilitate and regain quality of life, but who also thinks about pain beyond its physical components,” Dr. Davin says. “Patients often struggle with the behavioral piece and think it means that their pain isn’t real. But your pain is real — you just need someone to help you manage it better using behavioral medicine skills and strategies. Pain psychologists are trained to do this.”
  2. Get your research on. Dr. Davin suggests powering up your e-reader and searching for books that outline the basic strategies for cognitive behavioral therapy for pain. Your doctor may also recommend an online course or resources that offer science-based education about how to overcome chronic pain.
  3. Don’t neglect physical therapy. Dr. Davin emphasizes that physical therapy is essential to maximizing back pain relief. “A physical therapist who’s trained in pain and neuroscience education can explain why behavioral medicine treatments work, plus help you use them,” she says.

Chronic Back Pain? You May Find Relief With Behavioral Medicine

A Gentle Yoga Sequence to Target Your Nerves

yoga journal therapeutic tool

A Gentle Yoga Sequence to Target Your Nerves
Your yoga practice can be a therapeutic tool for pain management and prevention. Try this gentle sequence to target your nerves and protect their signaling powers.
yogajournal.com

Join Tiffany Cruikshank at Yoga Journal’s upcoming event in January at 1440 Multiversity. Learn more at yogajournal.com/thepractice.

Jenny Jimenez

With all of the new and emerging information on pain science, yoga students and teachers have the opportunity to apply modern research to their practices and help alleviate and prevent pain.

Preliminary research suggests that gentle movement of your nerves is vital to both managing pain and supporting the general health of your nervous system. The idea is that healthy nerves should be able to gently slide, elongate, and angulate within neural tissues (some nerves can move as much as ¾ inch) in order to adapt to different loads and minimize pressure that can worsen existing pain, alter sensation, or lead to new pain patterns. Sometimes, tone and tension around neural tissues can be a problem. These tissues are bloodthirsty and rely on an important pressure gradient around them to maintain adequate blood flow. So even small changes in tissue tension around a nerve can be enough to block nerve mobility and lead to compression that disrupts blood flow and nerve signaling back to the brain, contributing to pain.

See also Low Back Pain 101: 3 Sequences to Ease Your Pain

To help you keep your nerves adaptable and protected, try the asana technique on the following pages based on an understanding of neurodynamics (the study of nerve movement through its surrounding tissues) and nerve pathways. We have the ability to alternately put tension on different ends of the nerve to create a movement of the nerve through the tissues, often referred to as nerve gliding. As you floss the nerve, you potentially allow it to move more freely so that it can communicate more efficiently with your brain. For example, the sciatic nerve runs through the back of your leg, so in Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) if you bend your knee (raised leg) and flex your foot, you’ll put tension on one end of the nerve (by your foot) and slack the other end (by your knee). This action draws the sciatic nerve and its branches toward your foot. Then, as you extend your knee and point your toes, you’ll reverse the areas of tension and slack. This action draws the branches of the sciatic nerve toward your knee. When you put these movements together you can encourage the sciatic nerve to move back and forth through its tissues more effortlessly. You also may down-regulate local inflammatory responses, restore healthy blood flow to the hard-working nerve, and encourage more efficient communication between your brain and body. Optimal signaling is crucial if you want your immune and nervous systems to function at their best, which is another reason to add nerve gliding to your repertoire.

The key to nerve gliding is to move gently within an easy range of motion. Since your target is the pain-free movement of your nerves, not of your muscles and fascia, you want very little sensation or stretch. It’s a great reminder that even in the physical body there’s clearly more to what we do than just sensations or the feel-good endorphins associated with them. Another thing I love about this approach is that, in addition to being a safe way to work with pain, it’s very accessible since it’s about simple, gentle movements.

See also Reduce Pain and Discomfort with These Poses for the Pelvis

Sequence – Neurodynamic Movement

To begin, pick a nerve you want to focus on and find a range of motion that’s accessible, pain-free, and with very little (if any) stretching sensation. Do 5–10 repetitions of the pose or this sequence once or twice a day. If you’re using these moves more preventatively, try rotating a few of them into your regular practice a couple times a week, and remember that in group classes there’s more than just stretch and sensation affecting the tissues. Happy flossing!

https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/gentle-yoga-sequence-to-target-your-nerves

A Gentle Yoga Sequence to Target Your Nerves

yoga journal therapeutic tool

A Gentle Yoga Sequence to Target Your Nerves
Your yoga practice can be a therapeutic tool for pain management and prevention. Try this gentle sequence to target your nerves and protect their signaling powers.
yogajournal.com

Join Tiffany Cruikshank at Yoga Journal’s upcoming event in January at 1440 Multiversity. Learn more at yogajournal.com/thepractice.

Jenny Jimenez

With all of the new and emerging information on pain science, yoga students and teachers have the opportunity to apply modern research to their practices and help alleviate and prevent pain.

Preliminary research suggests that gentle movement of your nerves is vital to both managing pain and supporting the general health of your nervous system. The idea is that healthy nerves should be able to gently slide, elongate, and angulate within neural tissues (some nerves can move as much as ¾ inch) in order to adapt to different loads and minimize pressure that can worsen existing pain, alter sensation, or lead to new pain patterns. Sometimes, tone and tension around neural tissues can be a problem. These tissues are bloodthirsty and rely on an important pressure gradient around them to maintain adequate blood flow. So even small changes in tissue tension around a nerve can be enough to block nerve mobility and lead to compression that disrupts blood flow and nerve signaling back to the brain, contributing to pain.

See also Low Back Pain 101: 3 Sequences to Ease Your Pain

To help you keep your nerves adaptable and protected, try the asana technique on the following pages based on an understanding of neurodynamics (the study of nerve movement through its surrounding tissues) and nerve pathways. We have the ability to alternately put tension on different ends of the nerve to create a movement of the nerve through the tissues, often referred to as nerve gliding. As you floss the nerve, you potentially allow it to move more freely so that it can communicate more efficiently with your brain. For example, the sciatic nerve runs through the back of your leg, so in Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) if you bend your knee (raised leg) and flex your foot, you’ll put tension on one end of the nerve (by your foot) and slack the other end (by your knee). This action draws the sciatic nerve and its branches toward your foot. Then, as you extend your knee and point your toes, you’ll reverse the areas of tension and slack. This action draws the branches of the sciatic nerve toward your knee. When you put these movements together you can encourage the sciatic nerve to move back and forth through its tissues more effortlessly. You also may down-regulate local inflammatory responses, restore healthy blood flow to the hard-working nerve, and encourage more efficient communication between your brain and body. Optimal signaling is crucial if you want your immune and nervous systems to function at their best, which is another reason to add nerve gliding to your repertoire.

The key to nerve gliding is to move gently within an easy range of motion. Since your target is the pain-free movement of your nerves, not of your muscles and fascia, you want very little sensation or stretch. It’s a great reminder that even in the physical body there’s clearly more to what we do than just sensations or the feel-good endorphins associated with them. Another thing I love about this approach is that, in addition to being a safe way to work with pain, it’s very accessible since it’s about simple, gentle movements.

See also Reduce Pain and Discomfort with These Poses for the Pelvis

Sequence – Neurodynamic Movement

To begin, pick a nerve you want to focus on and find a range of motion that’s accessible, pain-free, and with very little (if any) stretching sensation. Do 5–10 repetitions of the pose or this sequence once or twice a day. If you’re using these moves more preventatively, try rotating a few of them into your regular practice a couple times a week, and remember that in group classes there’s more than just stretch and sensation affecting the tissues. Happy flossing!

https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/gentle-yoga-sequence-to-target-your-nerves

When you’re crippled with the pain in your back and you’re told “it’s just a touch of sciatica, it will pass”

“Lower back pain is like death and taxes; everybody gets it at some point,” says out Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. About 9 in 10 of those patients recover fairly quickly, he says, but for the remainder, the pain becomes chronic and life-altering. (Try this 60-second fix for back pain.) “The severity of the original injury and how prone you are to anxiety plays a role in whether your pain will persist,” he says. Physical therapy focused on core strengthening is one of the most effective treatments.

Use a foam roller to roll away your back pain:

https://www.prevention.com/health/a20486144/top-painful-medical-conditions/

Cleveland Clinic: The connection between pain and your brain:

cleveland chronic back pain

Chronic Back Pain? You May Find Relief With Behavioral Medicine

Understanding the brain’s relationship to pain

No pain, no gain? Not true for people suffering from chronic back pain. Instead, it’s the opposite: Back pain is one of the main causes of missed work (and missed paychecks).

But could the key to coping with chronic back pain be in your mind? “We actually know that pain is not just a sensory, or physical, experience,” says psychologist Sara Davin, PsyD, MPH. “It is also an emotional experience.”

Dr. Davin explains how you can harness your pain management super-powers by understanding the very real connection between pain and your thoughts.

The 411 on the mind-back pain connection

To understand how it all works, think of pain’s purpose. Pain is your brain’s way of alerting you that something is wrong, whether it’s a stubbed toe or a slipped disk.

How your brain processes an injury, then shares that information, has a direct connection to the level of pain you feel. You’re aware of pain because your brain tells you it’s there. (Psst — your brain also controls your thoughts and emotions.)

“Pain is processed in the brain and the central nervous system. Both have areas connected to the sensory experience, but both also have areas connected to the emotional experience,” Dr. Davin explains. “The sensory and emotional go together to create the output of one’s experience of pain. So to comprehensively treat chronic back pain, we have to look at both sides.”

And while traditional treatments like medications and physical therapy can take the edge off, they often ignore the elephant in the room: your thoughts.

“Managing back pain with behavioral medicine strategies might even prevent the pain from becoming chronic,” Dr. Davin states.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy for pain?

CBT for pain is talk therapy’s more specialized cousin. It’s a behavioral medicine strategy that teaches people how to:

  • Make the connection between how they think about their pain and the way they interpret it.
  • Understand how pain impacts their emotions.
  • Choose coping skills to help with how they function and behave.

Still not sold? Dr. Davin gives this example: Someone who feels that their pain is unbearable may cope by lying in bed and isolating themselves from activities they value. “This cycle can go on and on,” she explains. “The person becomes more helpless and then, from a physical standpoint, becomes weaker. Naturally, they now have even more pain.”

With CBT, that helpless feeling (and associated pain) is kicked to the curb because pain psychologists teach people how to:

  • Pace activities so they don’t overdo it.
  • Practice relaxation and meditation to decrease pain and stress.
  • Soothe their central nervous system, which increases the feeling of pain when under stress.

The proof is in the pudding. Dr. Davin runs an interdisciplinary program that uses physical therapy and CBT to treat chronic back pain. Patients participate in this program for 4 to 10 weeks, depending upon their progress.

“Folks in the program were better when compared to physical therapy alone,” she reports. “We have consistently seen significant improvements across all quality of life measures, including how much pain interferes with someone’s life, levels of fatigue, anxiety and depression, plus improvements in pain-related disability.”

Interestingly, one of the metrics that improves the most in the program is how satisfied participants are in their social roles. “In our program we teach people how to start having fun again and connected with others,” Dr. Davin notes. “I suspect this is why we see people wanting to be more socially active after the program.”

3 ways to put this new knowledge into action

Here’s how you can incorporate behavioral medicine strategies into your back pain management:

  1. Find a good pain management doctor. “You want a doctor who helps you rehabilitate and regain quality of life, but who also thinks about pain beyond its physical components,” Dr. Davin says. “Patients often struggle with the behavioral piece and think it means that their pain isn’t real. But your pain is real — you just need someone to help you manage it better using behavioral medicine skills and strategies. Pain psychologists are trained to do this.”
  2. Get your research on. Dr. Davin suggests powering up your e-reader and searching for books that outline the basic strategies for cognitive behavioral therapy for pain. Your doctor may also recommend an online course or resources that offer science-based education about how to overcome chronic pain.
  3. Don’t neglect physical therapy. Dr. Davin emphasizes that physical therapy is essential to maximizing back pain relief. “A physical therapist who’s trained in pain and neuroscience education can explain why behavioral medicine treatments work, plus help you use them,” she says.

Chronic Back Pain? You May Find Relief With Behavioral Medicine