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The Bain of Pain is in the Brain

 

 

 

Does your pain keep recurring?

Do you feel like your health care providers are chasing your pain?

 

 

Has your treatment been directed towards your symptoms vs the cause?

 

 

 

Pain usually begins with some sort of injury affecting the Human Movement System (HMS): Soft Tissues, joints and the nervous system.

Over time, this results in a pain-injury cycle

Are you on your Pain-Injury Cycle?

 

 

 

In the pain-injury cycle, tissue trauma causes inflammation, muscle spasm,  the formation of adhesions,  altered neuromuscular control, muscle imbalances (over active muscles and under active muscles) and joint dysfunction,

Over time, dysfunctional movement patterns become learned by the brain and nervous system, affecting Motor Behaviors.  

The Brain, Motor Behavior and Pain Patterns:

Motor Behavior is influenced by:

  1. Motor Control- Where posture and movements are used by the nervous system to assimilate and integrate information from previous experiences
  2. Motor Learning– Practice and experience leading to a relatively permanent changes in ones capacity to produce movements
  3. Motor Development-The change in motor behavior throughout one’s life

So how does one undo undesirable motor behavior that perpetuates pain and injuries?

After an injury, the motor control center in the brain adapts with compensatory patterns of imbalance as described above.

It holds these in its memory indefinitely-  unless reprogrammed to change.

Reprogramming involves some intervention that inhibits over-active muscles, activates under-active muscles and re-establishes functional movements through corrective exercise.

How can you reprogram your brain to eliminate your pain?

  1. Identify the problem through an Integrative assessment
  2. Solve the problem through a  step by step process (Inhibit*Lengthen*Activate*Integrate)
  3. Implement a corrective solution through exercise

 

An Integrative Assessment consists of a movement screen that identifies faulty movements. These dysfunctional movements can then be further assessed with range of motion and muscle testing.

 

The assessment identifies which muscles are tight, which are weak and the joints they are affecting.

 

 

 

The step by step solution includes deep massage and/or dry needling to the tight muscles, followed by stretching. Positional isometric exercises to the weak muscles, joint mobilization and functional exercise e.g. squat, lunge, row.

 

 

A note on Acute vs Chronic pain/injuries

Acute pain/injury is characterized by tissue damage. These injuries usually require minimal care and respond quickly because the brain has not had time to learn a new pattern. If you have an acute injury, take the appropriate measures to make sure that it will heal properly. Restricting movement is not always productive and in many cases will lead to chronic pain. There are numerous treatment options to normalize movement in an acute injury and reduce the pain cause by biochemicals that are involved in the healing response.

 

 

Chronic pain/injuries is characterized by fibrosis, muscles imbalances and joint dysfunction. In this case, movement restrictions are perpetuated by the nervous system and brain. It takes longer to undo these restrictions. Palliative therapies such as electric stim and ultrasound are generally ineffective. This type of pain requires deep manual therapies to break up the adhesions and corrective measure as described above.

 

 

 

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin

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