When I was in my twenties I suffered from severe Chronic Pain. In my search for finding a treatment, I went to Education for Therapist called Explain Pain Therapy and when the Teacher said. “Pain is a part of living a human life, in fact our survival depends on being able to feel pain,” on the first day, I was so provoked that I almost left because of his way of saying it. Today I realize it was necessary, for me to be provoked in order to learn something completely new.
If you should find your self getting provoked by reading along this article, please give yourself a chance to learn soemthing new.
Okay, back to the story.
The teacher then explained, that there exist a few very unfortunate people who are born into this world with a genetic mutation called CIPA. This mutation makes them unable to experience pain, cold and heat. A large proportion of the children born with this mutation die before they reach the age of 3. They don’t feel if they scratch themself too hard or if they hurt them self bad – and the surviving group has to constantly check themselves as they do not notice any injuries they may cause upon themself.
This example shows the teacher’s statement. That our ability to experience pain is essential to our survival as it causes us to act and avoid certain things.
This example did give me a new perspective on pain despite my own suffering. It shows that pain protects us and keeps us safe. But why do we then get chronic pain then, what are we protecting ourself from?
Myo- fascia tension as explanation for chronic pain
Its become very popular in many Yoga, Pilates and Facialmovement terapies to explain how the problems in the body are the reason for the experience of pain. And how the changes in the tissue by fx stretching is the reason for healing. Though it is true that pilates, Yoga, Qi Gong, and Tai Ji can help heal chronic pain, and it ishealthy for manny reasons. I can never explain alone why people stop having pain after a yoga class.
To think that changes in the myo-fascia are the reason for healing chronic pain is a Biomedical understanding of pain, where the belief system is that something is wrong in the phsycal body, and once this is fixed the pain stops.
While it is true that the Myofascia structure does have more than 6 times more sensory nerveendings than our ligaments and muscles, the structures in this tissue can not explain the origin or reason for pain alone.
This article will introduce you to a new Pain Understanding Model that provides you with a new way of viewing Pain. After reading this you will be able to explain to your yogastudnts why their pain disapeared and as a student you will be able to understand why you feel better after yoga
The Bio- Psyko – Social Model of Pain
In 1977, George Engel presented The Bio-Psycho-Social Model of Pain. Today it represents a new holistic way of understanding pain. A model that brings together body, mind and psyche – and using this perspective we need to understand that pain is a complex individual experience created by our brain, based on everything you feel, think and believe.
This model explains why we as humans have different pain experiences from the exact same stimulus and why we respond differently to pain – because we are different.
We are a product of your experiences, beliefs and wisdom. Everything that you have experienced and learned through your life will affect you. And thus also shaping your pain experience.
So what is Pain then?
“Pain is an unpleasant conscious experience produced by the brain when the sum of all the available information indicates that you need to protect a certain part of your body”
– Lorimer Moseley
Why and how yoga heals pain
Pain is a result of the brains sum of our whole life experience, and it is created in our subconsius mind and autonome nervussystem. Pain happens outside our consiusness. To test if I am right, tiy can try to se if you consiusly can give your self pain. Look at your thumb and tell your brain to give it pain. Or stand up and twist your ankle on purpose. I know, you cant. Ou nerveussystem and brain protects us and we can not consiusly give our self pain.
Yoga is an ancient practice that unites mind, body and spirit through movement, changeing thought patterns, behavior and movement. The pholosophy behind yoga and the practices epecially the breathing tecnickes and relaxations affect the brain and nervussystem positivly so that alot of the negative thoughts connected to fear start to calm and eventually diapear. At the same time the movements are slow, controlled movements which gives the brain a chance, through perception, to sense that there is nothing to protect in the body and the brain automatically stop sending pain signals and stiffness to the tissues.
“Yoga Relaxes, energizes, remodels and strengthens the body and psyche. Beginning with the physical body, which for most people is a practical and familiar starting point, it eventually influences all aspects of the person: vital, mental, emotional intellectual and spiritual”
In this way Yoga helps us to feel safe in our own body, have more happy and peacefull thoughts, let go of past traumas and experiences and feel safe in our enviorment. The same thing can be experienced if you practice breath work, meditation or Qi gong. But what I see in my daily experience with clients and experienced in my own body, is that especially Dao Yin Yoga, where you consiusly go deep into your phsycal, mental and emotional body, breath into the stiff and sore places is the most effective way to calm down the nervussystem and send positive signals to the brain that thare is no danger.
In the moment the brain is convinced that we are safe and there is no danger, it stops to produce pain and the tissues become more soft, flexible and relaxed.