Saturday, March 24, 2007

A new approach to pain management.

Several months ago my physiotherapist stopped me in the shopping centre to tell me about a fantastic new book talking about a new approach to pain management. Explain Pain is about "the virtual body" and the relationship of the brain to pain. He offered to loan me "the book by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. I bought it annd have read it and referred to it many times over. It explains very well how the brain is changed in the case of chronic pain and mentioned.

Apparently children who are born without limbs can feel those limbs. Phantom pain is well known so it is easy to understand that it is the brain that
feels (or provides the message of) pain. In complex Regional Pain Syndrome the brain chronically and excessively feels pain.

There is much research in various countries on mirror therapy for chronic pain. This was explained in enough detail in this book for me to work out how to use the method.

Previously I've had general body and back pain but not extreme pain in one side of the body.
So I had to wait till I had single sided pain. I stood side on to a stand alone mirror and watched my mirror image while I moved my right arm from my side, up and above my head and down again. I did this 10 times, less than a minute, all the time watching my mirror image, my left side hidden behind the mirror. I felt my left shoulder relax and put it down to distraction. An hour or so later I noticed the edge had gone off the pain and with it nausea. A couple of hours later I repeated the process just as before. I was aware that evening that I was in less pain. I repeated the exercise the next day and day after and by the third day the pain was only in my shoulder as it originally was. Then my right leg became very painful. I tried the mirror trick only hiding my right side and moved my left leg (which was by then pain free). I didn't feel the leg relax as I had with the shoulder but the pain was a little less. Again I repeated the exercise and after a few days the leg returned to normal.

I've repeated the process many times since with recovery times depending on the severity and location of the flare up. Each and every time I've eventually been able to reduce the pain and symptoms.

I encourage others to talk with your treating practitioners. Many Australian physiotherapists are now trained in guided motor imagery and mirror box therapy.
In the UK a pharmaceutical company has funded mirror boxes for UK pain clinics and the Australasian NOI Group who is behind Explain Pain and Recognize, guided motor program has facilities in Canada, Europe and the USA.

I've placed links to the NOI Group site in Canada, Europe and the USA.
If interested go to crps/rsd related articles to the left of this blog and click on the links.


What I do works for me. Seek advice of treating professionals.

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