What is pain?
Why and when do we experience pain?
What does it mean when we experience pain?
How can we best support ourselves through pain experiences?
What does our pain need from us?
We used to think that poor posture and pain went together like cookies and cream. We used to think that pain only occurred when tissue damage was present. We used to think that painful stimuli created pain in the body and that message was simply carried to the brain and duly reported. We used to think that pain was an input. We used to think that reports of pain without measurable damage or disease meant that someone was making it up, exaggerating or embellishing their experience, that the whole problem was just “in their head” in a way that implied they were a little nuts. We used to treat them like that was the case.
Fortunately, we’ve learned a lot about pain over the years, and what we’ve found has shown us that pain is far more complex than our early models suggested. Our current understanding considers the whole being, validates and humanizes the experiences of so many who were discounted in the past, and acknowledges that pain is an output of the brain in response to perceived threat. It’s a dynamic experience, and a personal one. For each individual, the sources of pain experiences, and the solutions for them, will vary. Curiosity, awareness and creativity can help us navigate our diverse pain experiences.
In the following weeks, we’ll be exploring: the function of pain within the body/mind; the relationship of posture, movement and pain and how our understanding around that has changed; some of the factors that influence whether we experience pain during or after an injury and how intensely; and some of the more effective ways to support the body/mind in navigating pain states and enhancing resilience. In the meantime, here's a an interesting short video that shows the history of change in our thinking about pain that enabled the research and discovery happening today. Stay tuned to learn more!
Breathe deeply, practice often, be well.
Dana Wyss Healing Arts