The brain changes

The brain changes in pain

The nervous system is plastic meaning that it changes and moulds according to the stimuli presented. Norman Doidge wrote about the ‘brain that changes itself’ and we have seen over the past 10 years or so an increasing number of studies that show this in a range of conditions, some painful and others not. Our […]

Pain: perception, expectation, meaning – it’s all important

Chronic pain

I regularly scour the literature for the latest studies that look at pain mechanisms. Firstly I am fascinated by the science and philosophy of pain, both personally as it is so intrical to life and living, and because I need to understand the current thinking in pain to be effective as a clinician–one day I will […]

Tackling chronic pain – it’s like learning a new language..and unlearning an old

Beethoven

Tackling chronic pain is a challenge. Undoubtedly our understanding of pain, the role of the nervous system and other body systems, has advanced to permit a reconceptualisation of the experience and how we can approach it. The knowledge that there is a form of conditioning and learning that goes on, means that we can switch […]

Pain Mechanisms – what underpins our pain?

Tackling pain

Understanding pain mechanisms is the key to effective treatment. The mechanisms that have been studied, written about in science journals and discussed with patients include nociceptive pain, inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain and central sensitisation. Elucidating which are playing a role in the patient’s experience allows the doctor to prescribe the right medication and the modern […]

Can’t get over that skiing injury?

Skiing injuries

To the skier, the thought of watching friends and family clumping off in their boots towards the lift whilst sitting with a leg up, packed with ice and the daily paper, is intensely frustrating. Injuries happen. In many cases with the right early treatment, perhaps surgery and definitely a thorough rehabilitation programme, the symptoms resolve […]

Contemporary understanding of factors in joint pain

Osteoarthritis and pain

Recent research has identified biological reasons for joint pain in arthritis: Interleukin-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine released both locally at the joint and in the spinal cord, consequently plays a role in the widespread nature of the pain via its role in central sensitisation. Sprouting of sensory and sympathetic fibres at the joint may well have […]

Pain – some things you may not have realised

Explain Pain - Homonculus

Pain is multidimensional. Pain is 100% produced by the brain in response to a perceived threat. The brain allocates a location using the cortical maps, hence why we feel pain in our backs or knees. The brain tries to make sense of the situation, scrutinising what is going on on the basis of past experience […]

Healthy tissues in 1-2-3

Healthy movement

The simple fact is that our tissues need movement to be healthy. By tissues I am referring to muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, fascia and skin. This does not need to be extreme movement but it must be regular and purposeful. Even without pathology, pain or an injury it is vital that the tissues are moved […]

Using neuroscience to understand and treat pain

Neuroscience to treat pain and injury

I love neuroscience. It makes my job much easier despite being a hugely complex subject. Neuroscience research has cast light over some of the vast workings of our brains and helped to explain how we experience ourselves and the richness of life. An enormous topic, in this blog I am briefly going to outline the way in […]

Mastery (2): practice, practice and then….practice

End-stage rehabilitation

Mastery is defined in the Oxford dictionary as: comprehensive knowledge or skill in a particular subject or activity control or superiority over someone or something The concept of mastery is often applied to a musical instrument, golf, martial arts or a language. The word is rarely used in conjunction with the rehabilitation of an injury […]