How Children Process Pain

By Dr. Lynn Webster, PNN Columnist

No one saw it happen. My three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter was in the basement by herself when she broke her arm. My guess is that she was jumping on the couch or standing on the back of it. Either way, the accident left her screaming and crying -- a natural response to being frightened and injured.

At the time, it wasn’t clear if she was seriously hurt. But my daughter said she behaved very differently after previous falls left her with minor bumps and bruises.

In a recent column, "Teaching Children How to Cope With Pain," I wrote about how parents should respond to children when they injure themselves. Experiencing pain is part of life, and children develop their own reactions based on an almost infinite number of factors.

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As adults, we tend to think about the physical trauma pain causes. We pay scant attention to how the young brain processes injuries or the images created in their minds as a result of them.

Children’s brains are unable to process trauma in the way adults do. This is due in part to the limited verbal ability young children have to express what they are feeling.

Still, they do integrate the experience of pain. And hopefully the lessons they learn about managing pain during childhood help them cope with pain when they reach adulthood.

Imagery and drawing are ways to help children effectively process their pain. The symbolic meaning of an image can be very revealing. Sigmund Freud described how imagery can reflect the feelings, attitudes and qualities of our environment.

Hermann Rorschach famously built on that idea to develop the Rorschach (or inkblot) test. The concept of the Rorschach test is that through drawing or interpreting images, children can convey the emotional loads they carry.

The first collection of children’s drawings of pain was published in 1885, well before Rorschach developed his test. It appeared in an article written by art reformer Ebenezer Cookie and illustrated how the stages of children’s development corresponded to the clarity of their drawings.

All trauma has the potential to affect a child’s development and perspective. This does not mean that all trauma damages the brain or renders a child unable to manage stress. In fact, trauma is a life experience that children must learn to manage without compromising their emotional development. That sets the stage for being able to handle pain effectively as they mature.

Velcro or Teflon

In his book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence,” neuropsychologist Rick Hanson says, “Your brain was wired in such a way when it evolved, it was primed to learn quickly from bad experiences but not so much from the good ones.”

That explains why traumatic memories so often stick in our brains while positive memories seem to slip away.

“It’s an ancient survival mechanism that turned the brain into Velcro for the negative, but Teflon for the positive,” Hanson concludes.

On the day of my granddaughter's injury, my daughter called and asked for help. Fortunately, my wife and I live nearby, so I rushed over immediately. Even before I entered her home, I began to wonder whether the injury my granddaughter experienced would be more Teflon than Velcro.

Usually when I arrive, my granddaughter calls my name and races to give me a hug. That didn't happen on the day she fell. Instead, she was clinging to her mother, who was trying and failing to console her and "make it all better."

It was obvious to me that my granddaughter had a fracture and needed to be taken to the emergency room.

After the orthopedic surgeon treated and cast her arm, my granddaughter experienced minimal pain. It was a bump in the road she would one day forget. Or would she? And should she?

Two weeks later, my granddaughter was at preschool, where the class was studying cloud formations. Each student was asked to draw clouds and explain what their Rorschach images meant to them.

Below, you can see my granddaughter's drawing, which she made by applying blobs of ink to the paper and folding it in half. Her interpretation of that image was that the clouds were “my broken bones.”

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The separation of the clouds might have been the projection Freud would have expected from a child with a recent injury where bones were separated and had to be mended. 

It reinforced the lesson for me that young children are always processing and interpreting the events of their lives. These experiences create images and memories that are a part of their developing brains and personalities. 

Although my granddaughter is only three and a half, she is already forming her adult interpretation of pain, one layer at a time. Whether her experience will be more Teflon than Velcro, only time will tell.

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Lynn R. Webster, MD, is a vice president of scientific affairs for PRA Health Sciences and consults with the pharmaceutical industry. He is author of the award-winning book, “The Painful Truth,” and co-producer of the documentary, “It Hurts Until You Die.” You can find him on Twitter: @LynnRWebsterMD.

This column is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.

Can Prayer Ease Chronic Pain?

By Dr. Lynn Webster, PNN Columnist

Does prayer lead to healing? Many religious people around the world believe that it does. According to the science, it may.

Medical researchers have looked into the effects of religion and spirituality on chronic health conditions, including chronic pain, for many years. The research has produced vastly different results. According to a review of studies in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, prayer may contribute to healing, may worsen health, or may make no difference at all.

Helen Fosam, PhD, says in Clinical Pain Advisor, "a positive emotional state and a positive expectation of pain relief can lower pain and enhance clinical effect of treatment."

So if you believe prayer can ease your pain, it may happen.

Pain Is a Spiritual Condition

As I say in my book, The Painful Truth, pain is a bio-psycho-social-spiritual condition. However, it might make more sense to reverse the order and put “spiritual” first because, for many people, the spiritual dimension is the most important.

More times than I can remember, I’ve known people in pain to cry out to God for mercy, kneel in silent prayer, cross themselves or finger their rosary, practice yoga or meditation, wear crosses or angel pins or crystals, express a longing for heaven, mention attending religious services, or tell me about their belief in God.

Even religious skeptics who are in pain sometimes pray for themselves or ask others to pray for them.

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The simple fact is that most people have a tendency to turn to God and faith when they are in need, including when they are in pain. Along with most other pain specialists, I have come to see this as generally a good thing, because relating to a God or a perceived spiritual reality beyond oneself can affect one’s pain experience positively.

Prayer As Meditation

Prayer is a specialized form of meditation. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation "may be helpful for a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, certain psychological disorders, and pain."

People who have faith in a higher power and turn to prayer may be availing themselves of the medical benefits of meditation.

Of course, not everyone who is in pain is religious or spiritual -- or wants to be. I’ve known many people with pain who have experienced a substantial increase in their life satisfaction without recourse to spiritual beliefs and practices. Some of them have practiced meditation, and some of them have not.

But if we’re interested in what promotes healing for those enduring long-term pain, we can’t ignore the interaction between belief and pain.

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Lynn R. Webster, MD, is a vice president of scientific affairs for PRA Health Sciences and consults with the pharmaceutical industry. He is author of the award-winning book, The Painful Truth,” and co-producer of the documentary,It Hurts Until You Die.” You can find him on Twitter: @LynnRWebsterMD. 

The information in this column is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.

Arthritis Foundation Releases First CBD Guideline

By Pat Anson, PNN Editor

The Arthritis Foundation has become the first major patient advocacy group to release guidelines on the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat arthritis pain.  

About 54 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis. According to a recent national survey, 79 percent of arthritis patients are currently using CBD, have tried it in the past, or are considering it.

CBD infused products – from edibles to lotions to beverages -- are rapidly going mainstream, even though there is little scientific evidence to support their use. There has also been little guidance for consumers on what products to use or in what doses — until now.

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“We are intrigued by the potential of CBD to help people find pain relief and are on record urging the FDA to expedite the study and regulation of these products,” the Arthritis Ffoundation said in a statement.

“While currently there is limited scientific evidence about CBD’s ability to help ease arthritis symptoms, and no universal quality standards or regulations exist, we have listened to our constituents and consulted with leading experts to develop these general recommendations for adults who are interested in trying CBD.”  

CBD is largely extracted from a hemp, a marijuana strain that has only trace amounts of THC, the active ingredient that makes people high.

"Millions of people in the U.S. are likely trying to use cannabinoids to treat pain, and many are doing this in ways that might cause more harm than good, especially when they use high doses of THC," said Daniel Clauw, MD, a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan who was one of the experts the foundation consulted.

"It's important that the Arthritis Foundation has taken a stand on CBD,” Clauw said in a statement. “Right now, it appears to be fairly safe and might help certain types of pain. It's far better to give this guidance, even if preliminary, because otherwise people will have no guidance whatsoever." 

DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE

DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE

The new guideline is largely cautionary and does not explicitly recommend CBD as a treatment, stating only that it “may help” with arthritis-related symptoms such as pain, insomnia and anxiety.

When taken in moderate doses, experts say CBD has no major safety issues, although it may interact with some drugs commonly taken for arthritis, such as naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), tramadol (Ultram), gabapentin (Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica) and some antidepressants.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends taking CBD in oral sprays or tinctures so the liquid can be taken under the tongue and be absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

Experts say a “go slow” approach is best, starting with a few drops twice a day and increasing the dose gradually over a period of weeks until an effective dose is reached.

The guideline strongly discourages inhaling or vaping CBD because of the risk of respiratory problems. It also discourages taking CBD in edibles, such as gummies and cookies, because the dosing is unreliable. Experts say the effectiveness of topical lotions and creams with CBD is unclear because they often contain other ingredients.

Other key takeaways from the guideline:

  • CBD should never be used to replace disease-modifying drugs that help prevent permanent joint damage in inflammatory types of arthritis.

  • CBD use should be discussed with your doctor in advance, with follow-up evaluations every three months or so.

  • Buy from a reputable CBD company that has each batch tested for purity, potency and safety by an independent laboratory and provides a certificate of analysis.  

Unlike prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the manufacturing process for CBD products is not subject to FDA review, and there has been no FDA evaluation of their effectiveness, proper dosage, how they could interact with drugs, or whether they have side effects. 

The Federal Trade Commission recently warned companies that make CBD products to stop making unsubstantiated claims that cannabidiol can be used to treat arthritis and other chronic pain conditions.

Is Your Pain Medication Effective or Was It Placebo Effect?

By Dr. Lynn Webster, PNN Columnist

Most of us have been prescribed a medicine at some time in our lives. And if we got better, we probably assumed it was because the medication was effective.

However, this may not have been completely true. A positive result following the use of a medication may have little to do with the drug.

If you're a M*A*S*H fan, you may have seen an episode called "Major Topper." In that show, Colonel Potter suggests they treat people in pain with a placebo because there is a morphine shortage — and it works. Did that mean their pain wasn’t real?

Placebos Work So Well They Can Fool Researchers

One of the greatest challenges in evaluating the efficacy of medical treatments is to minimize what is known as the placebo effect. The benefit provided by a treatment during clinical trials may appear to be significant. However, the treatment may fail to be approved by the FDA if the benefits for patients who receive a placebo are too similar to those who receive active treatment.

Drug approval requires that active treatment results are meaningful and differ statistically from placebo results, even though both may provide similar outcomes when compared to a baseline. 

I study drugs for their potential to be abused— what the FDA calls a Human Abuse Potential (HAP) study. People who participate in HAP studies must admit they recreationally use the class of drug which is undergoing evaluation, and must report a strong preference for the drug when compared to a placebo.

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Most people would be surprised to learn that as many as 50% of the test subjects who commonly use a drug recreationally cannot adequately differentiate between the active drug and the placebo. Even more surprising is that one in five subjects report a much greater preference or “getting high" experience with the placebo than with the active drug.

There are several reasons for this. It could be that they don’t realize researchers know which drug they received and in what order. They are simply hoping to guess correctly because they want to participate in the study. Or the subjects may be anticipating an effect that they want (to get high) and that anticipation creates the effect in the reward center of their brain without even using an active drug.

This effect is not limited to drugs. As a principal investigator in a study, I surgically implanted wires at the base of the occiput (the skull) to stimulate occipital nerves in an attempt to prevent or treat migraine headaches. Although all subjects underwent the operation and were implanted with the wires, only half received active stimulation. The other half were programmed with a sham pattern of stimulation.

When the study was unblinded, we discovered that almost everyone in both groups (active and placebo) derived remarkable, but similar, relief from the therapy.

We concluded it was their expectation that an invasive procedure would be therapeutic that provided the positive outcome. Unfortunately, the positive results of both treatment and placebo meant the new procedure could not be approved on the basis of our testing.

Placebos Work Even When People Know About Them

Ted Kaptchuk, a Harvard Medical School professor of medicine, is the director of the Program in Placebo Studies at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In a recent episode of NPR's "Hidden Brain" podcast, Kaptchuk recounts similar results when testing the placebo effect.

However, his research added a new twist. Kaptchuk wanted to see what would happen if he used "radical honesty" to determine the potential of the placebo effect. Instead of tricking patients into believing they may receive an actual treatment instead of a placebo, Kaptchuk told his subjects they would receive a placebo. In other words, no actual drug would be administered to subjects and they were all aware of that.

Surprisingly, he found that a placebo could still work. "Hidden Brain" host Shankar Vedantam also talked to Linda Bonanno, who participated in Kaptchuk's study. Bonanno explained that Kaptchuk gave her a placebo to treat her irritable bowel syndrome and it eased the agonizing pain she had been living with for years.

The pain did not return until Kaptchuk stopped "prescribing" the placebo. For Bonanno, what seemed to help the most was the trusting relationship she had with Kaptchuk. The warmth and caring of her health care provider may have been enough to mitigate her pain.

As we know, pain isn't just a physical experience. It is a complex emotional experience that has psychological, social and spiritual elements. If a doctor's empathy, warmth, listening and caring can ease a patient's pain, that shouldn’t call into question whether the patient's pain was real. It simply makes the case that a trusting relationship with a healthcare provider is as important for successful treatment as the medication or procedure itself.  

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Lynn R. Webster, MD, is a vice president of scientific affairs for PRA Health Sciences and consults with the pharmaceutical industry. He is author of the award-winning book, The Painful Truth” and co-producer of the documentary,It Hurts Until You Die.” You can find him on Twitter: @LynnRWebsterMD.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.

Teaching Children How to Cope with Pain

By Dr. Lynn Webster, PNN Columnist

Summer is upon us and so is trauma season. Emergency room visits for children with traumatic injuries can double during the summer. Potential injuries range from insect and animal bites to serious bicycle and ATV injuries.

This means parents will be on the front line, triaging each event to determine which injury needs medical treatment and which requires "only" emotional support.

A mother recently asked newspaper advice columnist Amy Dickinson about the best way to handle her toddler's pain. The mother was seeking suggestions from a stranger because she disagreed with her husband’s approach. She wanted to learn the "right" way to respond to her child's injuries.

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The mother said she felt the need to provide the hurt child with ice packs and hugs, regardless of the extent of the injury, because that felt nurturing and productive.

On the other hand, the father thought his wife was making too big of a deal out of their child's pain. He believed that coddling children deprived them of the opportunity to grow into self-sufficient, resilient adults.

The columnist advised the mother that "tender gestures are an important part of parenting." Show your children that you care about their pain, Dickinson suggested, but don't turn each incident into a melodrama.

The mother's question grabbed my attention, because treating a child's pain is an omnipresent issue with far-reaching implications. By the time they reach age five, children have developed the way they will address adversity for the rest of their lives. Obviously, how a parent responds to a child’s injury -- their attitudes and behaviors -- is part of the culture that helps children form that foundation.

Options in Soothing a Child’s Pain

An overly doting, anxious parent can reinforce a hyperbolic response to pain that has little to do with the actual injury. A small "ouchie" can become a catastrophic event, and that may contribute to learned anxiety and the perception of greater pain.

On the other hand, ignoring an injury can lead to more aggressive attention-seeking behavior. Children need to know that an empathetic adult cares, even if the injury is relatively minor. Feeling safe positively influences a child's experience of adversity.

Children who have the emotional and cognitive ability to understand and determine their response to an injury generally suffer less. This is self-efficacy, and it allows the child to feel in control.

It's important to help children master their response to pain in age-appropriate ways. Of course, you comfort your pre-verbal children with a calm, measured voice and attitude. When children can communicate verbally, you can begin asking them whether their injury is a big one or small one. Then ask the children how they can make themselves feel better. This is how to nurture their resilience.

Accepting Pain

Experts who study why some people seem to handle pain better than others believe that acceptance plays a major role. There are two kinds of acceptance: acceptance with resignation and acceptance with resilience. 

Acceptance with resignation, or learned helplessness, steals hope more thoroughly than pain itself can do. A resigned person feels incapable of solving the problem and simply gives up.

Acceptance with resilience, on the other hand, makes it possible for a person to reinvent himself or herself to resolve the problem.

Children must learn how to accept pain with resilience so they can quickly, and without drama, move on from it. This requires a mutually caring relationship with the parent or guardian.

Big hurts, medium hurts, and small hurts may require different treatment, but not necessarily a different emotional response. Fundamentally, children must realize that everyday hurts are problems with solutions.

I recently watched my daughter instinctively demonstrate this behavior. My granddaughter, Gracie, fell and bumped her knee. The three-year-old began to cry. My daughter then asked Gracie: “is it a "big ouchie" or a "small ouchie?"

The question redirected Gracie’s attention. To my surprise, Gracie answered in a soft and shaky voice, “a small one.” Gracie received a hug from her mom and seemed to forget about the incident.

The Goal Is a Resilient Child

Pain is part of growing up. Parents cannot prevent injuries from occurring with their children, but they can model how to accept the injury with resilience.

To paraphrase Viktor Frankl, we have the power to choose our response to adversity. Relying on ourselves gives us control over our behaviors and happiness.

When parents can model self-efficacy without dismissing a child’s fears or insecurities; the result will be a resilient child who is able to experience pain as part of life, but not mistake it for life itself. 

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Lynn R. Webster, MD, is a vice president of scientific affairs for PRA Health Sciences and consults with the pharmaceutical industry. Lynn is a former president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, author of the award-winning book “The Painful Truth” and co-producer of the documentary “It Hurts Until You Die.”

You can find him on Twitter: @LynnRWebsterMD.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.

We Are More Than Our Pain

By Carol Levy, PNN Columnist

I was referred to a neurologist who specializes in headaches. Trigeminal neuralgia is very different from a headache, but any port in a storm. I called to make an appointment and was told all new patients must agree to meet with a psychologist. If you refuse, you do not get the appointment.

This seemed like an inherent bias: Patients with head pain must have psychological issues. Does this mean the doctors are prejudging the truthfulness of their pain complaints?

Despite misgivings about seeing a psychologist, I made the appointment.

A few weeks later, the neurologist admitted me into the headache unit of the local hospital. Everyone in the unit had to have a one-on-one meeting with the psychologist.

“Tell me about your life,” she said.

I told her the most salient fact: “I am essentially alone in the world. My family abandoned me decades ago. And when you don’t work it is hard to make friends.”

Her suggestion: “You should go to counseling. They can teach you how to make friends.”

Well, there's a good idea. Except...

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Before the pain started, I had no trouble making friends. Since the pain is a different story. Trying to make friends is hard when you don’t have the glue necessary to start a new relationship. I never married and I never had children because the pain took that part of my life away from me.

At my age, a senior citizen, that is often the opening question when you meet new people: “Are you married?” or “How many grandkids do you have?” No and none.

“Do you work? Are you still working?” Again, no. I haven't worked in over 40 years because of the pain.

If I am honest and say, “No to all of those. I have been disabled by a pain disorder since 1976,” the response tends to be a mouth falling open, followed by “Oh, I'm sorry.” Or a somewhat glazed look and a turn away to speak with someone else.

How do you overcome this? I haven't a clue.

But it started me thinking. When, if ever, did any of my doctors ask, “How are you dealing with this?”

I see this often mentioned in support groups: “My doctor never seems to have the time or the interest to find out about me, about how this is affecting my life.”

I am not sure if they don't ask because they don’t care or because it is something they can’t treat with a pill. Maybe they are afraid of hearing the truth for too many of us: “I'm not dealing well with it.”

Isn't part of being a healer taking the whole person into account? Doctors have precious little time to spend with us. Maybe they should take a few extra minutes to learn about the essence of who we are and what the pain has done to our basic core.

There is no medicine or surgery for the effect the pain has on our lives. But being able to say, especially to our doctors, what it has taken from us could help others see us as something more than our pain.  

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Carol Jay Levy has lived with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic facial pain disorder, for over 30 years. She is the author of “A Pained Life, A Chronic Pain Journey.”  Carol is the moderator of the Facebook support group “Women in Pain Awareness.” Her blog “The Pained Life” can be found here.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.

Anxiety Is a Symptom, Not a Diagnosis

By Dr. David Hanscom, PNN Columnist

Every living creature on this planet survives by avoiding threats and gravitating towards rewards. The driving force is staying alive and survival of the species. This is accomplished by the nervous system taking in data from the environment through each body sensor and analyzing it.

The first step in this process is for your brain to define reality. A cat is a cat because your brain has unscrambled visual signals and determined the nature of the animal. A cat’s meow is analyzed from the auditory receptors. Your nervous system then links the two inputs together to associate the sound as one that emanates from a cat.

The reason why I am presenting the obvious is to make the point that nothing exists without your brain gathering data, unscrambling it and determining what is.

One of the responsibilities of the central nervous system is to maintain the delicate balance of the body’s chemistry. There are numerous chemicals to keep track of. When there is a threat, hormones will be secreted that increase your chances of survival.

Some of the core response hormones are adrenaline, noradrenaline, endorphins, histamines and cortisol. I won’t list the effects of each of these survival hormones, but the net result is an increased capacity to flee from danger.

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All of these allow you to leap into action, but what compels you to do so? It is a feeling of dread that we call anxiety. It is so deep and uncomfortable that you have no choice but to take action.

Anxiety is a symptom, not a diagnosis, disease or disorder. Therefore, it isn’t treatable by addressing it as the problem. Once you understand anxiety is only a warning mechanism, you can address the causes of it.

The Curse of Consciousness 

The universal problem of being human is what I call the “Curse of Consciousness.” Recent neuroscience research has shown that threats in the form of unpleasant thoughts are processed in a similar area of the brain as physical threats and with the same chemical response.  

This curse is that none of us can escape our thoughts, so we are subjected to an endless hormonal assault on our body. This translates into more than 30 physical symptoms and many disease states, including autoimmune disorders and intractable pain. The worst symptom is relentless anxiety.  

In my personal experience and working with thousands of pain patients, it is the mental pain -- manifested by anxiety – that becomes intolerable. Anxiety is the essence of human suffering and physical pain is the final insult.  

Since this unconscious survival mechanism has been estimated to be a million times more powerful than your conscious brain, it isn’t responsive to rational interventions to manage or control it. Without anxiety that is unpleasant enough to compel you take action, you wouldn’t survive. Neither would you survive without the drive to seek physiological rewards. 

Direct Your Own Care

Try to view anxiety as the fuel gauge in your car. It lets you know that you are being threatened. Whether the threat is real or perceived doesn’t matter. But you have to allow yourself to feel it before you can understand and deal with it.  

If anxiety is the measure of your body’s survival hormones, then the only way to decrease it is to lower them. This can be accomplished directly through relaxation techniques or by indirectly lowering the reactivity of your brain to dampen the survival response.  

This is accomplished by stimulating your brain to rewire so the response to a threat results in a lower chemical surge and is of shorter duration. The term for this is “neuroplasticity.” Your brain changes every second with new cells, connections and myelin. 

By not wasting energy trying to treat or solve your anxiety, you now have the energy to pursue a new path with a remarkable surge in energy, life forces and creativity.   

How is this accomplished? Learning tools to calm and rewire your nervous system is the core of the Direct your Own Care (DOC) project. These approaches have been known for centuries, but have been buried under the weight of modern information overload and the rapid pace of life.  

DOC is a four-stage process for you to understand the nature of your pain and relevant issues that allows you to figure out your own version of a solution. The clarity you get will help you connect to your own capacity to heal by developing skills to auto-regulate your body’s chemistry from anxiety to relaxed.  

Success in learning to adjust your body’s chemical makeup is based on awareness and openness to learning so change can occur. It is remarkably simple and consistent. Join me in living your life in a manner that you could not conceive was possible – even better than before you were crushed by pain. 

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Dr. David Hanscom is retired spinal surgeon who has helped hundreds of back pain sufferers by teaching them how to calm their central nervous systems without the use of drugs or surgery.

In his book Back in ControlHanscom shares the latest developments in neuroscience research and his own personal history with pain.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.