The three faces of pain ……
……namely, acute, chronic and neuropathic. Let’s take each one in turn:
This occurs in the short term and is usually a direct response to an injury. It’s part of the body’s natural, in-built alarm system, signalling that it is being attacked and that you should take care of the injured area. It normally leads to inflammation, such as in a bruise or swelling. Most healing is completed within six weeks and acute pain usually reduces over this period of time. Nearly all injured tissue is fully healed within six months. Acute pain can also arise without any obvious injury, such as a stomach ache after overeating, or the headache that comes with a hangover.
This is the type of pain that has been rumbling on for a while, at least three months or more. The word, chronic is often misunderstood to mean severe, but what it actually means is long-term. It sometimes develops after an injury and persists, often inexplicably, even after tissue healing has taken place. Some chronic pain is caused by damage that persists over time, such as in the case of arthritis or cancer. Chronic pain may also start for no obvious or specific reason. If the pain remains when there is no continuing physical damage, it becomes a medical problem, often known as chronic pain syndrome.
This occurs in the nervous system and, often, normal investigations fail to discover a clear cause. It might result from damage to the nerves, spinal cord or brain. Sometimes, though, pain is felt even when there is no damage at all, or when healing has seemingly been completed at the site of an injury or illness. One possible explanation for this mystery is that ‘background noise’ in the nervous system becomes unduly amplified. This is believed to happen because the nervous system responds to the experience of pain by increasing its capacity to process pain signals – just like a computer does when it needs to devote extra memory or circuits to complete an important task. So, the body begins to act like an amplifier that’s simply stuck on ‘high’. Neuropathic pain can also take the form of unusual sensations, such as burning or electric shocks and can even occur post-amputation in areas where limbs were once fully functioning. Some forms of tinnitus (ringing or ‘white noise’ sounds in the ears) can also be considered as neuropathic pain.
Whatever the type or level of pain you’re experiencing, one thing my research has proven to be 100% crystal clear is this: that whatever you resist, persists!
Conditions such as a bad back, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, to name a few, can all cause pain long after the original injuries have healed, without any obvious cause showing up on scans or tests. Even when there is a clear physical cause, as with conditions such as arthritis, heart disease or cancer, the pain often comes and goes without apparent rhyme or reason. Doctors then feel compelled to prescribe long-term courses of painkillers, some of which have horrendous side effects such as memory loss, lethargy and even addiction.
Millions of people exist in a world of suffering – a place where even the simplest of tasks can amplify their pain, often leading to anxiety, stress, depression and exhaustion, each of which serves to further increase the suffering into a monumental downward spiral. Such vicious cycles have driven newly discovered psychological forces underlying our perception of pain. Crucially, this discovery offers a whole new approach to the management of pain and illness that has the potential to transform suffering completely.
Join Inspirational Winners’ campaign to ‘Stop Medication & Start Meditation’ – we CAN all be well, all the time!