Integrative Pain Management is a newly emerging discipline emphasizing an integrative approach with a goal of reduction of chronic pain and suffering. Many people are unaware of non-pharmacological treatments for chronic pain. We want to do more than manage your pain. Our goal is pain elimination.
It is recommended that patients always see a physician to rule out or diagnose any medical pathology.
Pain is an uncomfortable feeling or sensation in the body. Pain is often an indication that something is wrong and needs to be attended to. Pain can appear suddenly or come on slowly.
Chronic pain persists despite the fact that an injury has healed. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system causing much distress for the patient.
Chronic pain persisting for three months or longer, can leave a person depressed, distracted, unproductive, unfulfilled, and exhausted.
"The source of all this pain in millions of people varies widely. As bodies age, strains and injuries heal more slowly or poorly. Repetitive-motion strains and stresses accumulate and are the source of numerous job-related injuries resulting in chronic pain. Disease-related pain afflicts those with cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many other human maladies. Chronic pain can result from major trauma in accidents or as a result of surgery, persisting long after the initial injuries or conditions have been treated and are ostensibly healed." - Dr Kamau Kokayi, MD Integrative Medicne.
Causes Of Chronic Pain
Several patients can have pain and symptoms in the same location yet have different causes. Chronic Pain is often a combination of the following.
- Distressed tissues and structural restrictions from accidents, injuries, surgery, and chronic repetitive strain putting pressure on nerves and restricting motion.
- Nervous System dysregulation and brain sensitization from trauma, toxins, accidents, surgery, and prolonged stress/pain.
- Subconscious bracing from mental and/or emotional stress.
- Muscle imbalances/weakness
- Disease such as cancer and arthritis
Manual Therapy - A whole body approach:
The body is a complex system of interconnected parts. It is necessary to use a whole body approach, because we are comprised of complex interrelated systems. Restrictions, tightness, or imbalances in any part of the body may potentially affect other parts. Therapy sessions are designed to release restrictions in the soft tissue (muscles, connective tissue, organs, nerves) and craniosacral mechanism to allow the body to move freely, as well as balance the nervous system. When balance is restored, improved health and a sense of well-being is a natural byproduct. Craniosacral Therapy and Myofascial Release are powerful forms of manual therapy for the treatment of chronic pain.
The Mind/Brain/ Body Connection
Chronic Pain- Is it all in my head? no it's in your brain and nervous system
Often people experience chronic pain that is not related to any known physical problem or they may continue to experience symptoms after the injury has healed.
This can be very frustrating to patients because, despite all of their symptoms, nothing shows up on medical tests. These people are often told "It's all in your head", "It is psychosomatic".
There is a growing body of evidence that supports the concept that pain may develop as a result of prolonged stress, unexpressed emotions, and past physical or emotional trauma. This may cause a "bracing" or "tightening up" on an unconscious level, which causes the muscles to contract and tighten, putting pressure on pain sensitive structures, creating many bizarre symptoms of pain, weakness, neuropathy, nervousness, irritability, and loss of motion.
Dr. John Sarno, a medical doctor from the Rusk institute in New York, is a pioneer in mind/body pain relief. His book "Healing Back Pain" as helped shed light on how emotions can cause the muscles to tighten outside of our awareness resulting in many types of pain syndromes and neuropathies.
Dr Sarno - All The Rage
Stress, Trauma and Chronic Pain
Traumatic events can become "trapped" in the nervous system if not dissipated or released. Peter Levine PhD, a trauma expert, explains how this happens in his book "Waking the Tiger". This can sensitize the brain keeping a person in a constant state of nervous system dysregulation (fight, flight, freeze). This keeps the body on high alert or dissociation and does not allow for recovery.
- Release structural restrictions in the fascia, muscles, cranium, and viscera
- Release accumulated stress/tension patterns in the body
- Improve somatosensory body awareness
- Improve energy flow and circulation
- Improve function of the vagus nerve and related cranial nerves
- Help balance the autonomic nervous system
The Autonomic Nervous System
The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is an important piece in the treatment of many chronic health conditions including fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The ANS is the master controller of the body's metabolism, hormone production, and immune system.
When the ANS becomes imbalanced from excessive stress and trauma, it can create many chronic problems resulting in many symptoms.
The ANS controls most of the body’s involuntary processes, including, digestion, circulation, respiration, and metabolism. It also is responsible for our fight/flight/freeze responses.
When the ANS becomes imbalanced it can create many chronic problems resulting in many symptoms.
Dysautonomia - is a term used to describe dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. It is typically used as a term for certain illnesses including Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(RSD) and POTS.
However, some researchers and clinicians believe that Dysautonomia is a contributing factor with many other chronic illnesses including: Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, MCS, PTSD, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME, CFS).
ANS imbalance may also be related to many other conditions and symptoms including:
Post Concussion syndrome
High/low Blood Pressure
Stress, trauma, and the ANS
There are many sources of stress and trauma including: emotional, psychological, physical, chemical, viral, and bacterial that have an impact on optimal brain function.
This can overload the nervous system and put it in a chronic state of autonomic nervous system imbalance that can result in many chronic health problems and physical/ emotional symptoms.
This can sensitize the brain which keeps a person stuck in a state of "fight/ flight/freeze", keeping the body from regenerating.
This wreaks havoc on all of the systems of the body resulting in a multitude of symptoms. When the nervous system is imbalanced due to excessive stress or trauma it keeps the body's systems from functioning properly.
“What a great majority, if not all, ‘syndromal’ clients have in common is a functional disorder in how the autonomic nervous system is responding to stress.” Peter Levine- founder of Somatic Experieincing
The Power of Neuroplasticity:
The good news is that our brain and nervous system is more malleable then was previously thought. We can rewire our brain and learn to balance our nervous system through the power of neuroplasticity.
In Dr. Norman Doidge's book, "The Brain's Way of Healing" , he describes how the mind and body can become partners in healing the brain. He gives examples of how cognitive, somatic and sensory based approaches can help rewire the brain.
Holistic treatments such as Craniosacral Therapy, Myofascial Release and Somatic Experiencing can help release the chronic tension patterns associated with stress and trauma and help rebalance the Autonomic Nervous System.
Pain management is enhanced with proper brain based nutrition, antioxidants, exercise, hydration. It is important to decrease the toxic stress load and inflammation process when healing. It is recommended that clients work with an integrative physician and physical therapist.
**This website is for informational purposes only. It is always recommended to visit your physician to rule out any underlying medical condition or pathology.