In my last post I described the neuromatrix theory of centrally (make that the brain) modulated pain and psychology-based interventions to relieve pain. The time before that I described pain producing trigger points that lurk in the stagnant swamp of tension-laden tissue. The matrixers don’t believe in trigger points, but in my opinion trigger points are not a belief system; they are a bedside and bench research reality. Despite not having studied with the matrixers it seems possible and rewarding to include mindwork with bodywork.
Some ‘in-your-head’ therapies
Soon after arriving in the US I studied with Deane Juhan, author of the magnificent ‘Job’s Body’. As a Trager therapist he described the importance of ‘Hook up’; mentally and meditatively connecting with his patients as he rhythmically and gently applied his Trager. John Sarno, MD, author of ‘The MindBody Prescription’ gets sufferers to spend quality time each day identifying pain derived from strong emotions like fear, anxiety, anger, and rage. Physical exercise and music therapy are also known to promote analgesia.
Chronic pain is useless pain
Chronic pain is pretty much known to be useless, meaningless and not proportional to tissue damage. Try telling this to the sufferer. Many people are firmly attached to their ‘bulging disc’, ‘spinal stenosis’, ‘fibromyalgia’, ‘broken neck’, ‘frozen shoulder’, or ‘bad chiropractic adjustment’ handles. Because of the amount of time that we spend with clients, we massage therapists are in a unique position to use mindbody approaches to break into these fixated connections.
Getting inside pain sufferers bodies and minds
At 360 NMT we have been playing around with many different physical and mental distraction techniques. The physical includes vibration, jostling, warm/cool packs, spiky balls and rollers, scraping and snapping that send their messages to the brain via the medial lemniscus (noxious signals use the spino-thalamic tract). To improve their mental state we explain how pain can be out-witted and out-thought, we give people movement patterns that they have never done before, we improve body awareness, we instill confidence and safety of movement, and above all we give hope. Stay tuned for course dates to learn this good stuff.