Saturday, April 21, 2007

Prior to December last year, I would swing from one flare up to another in a different place with no break. Indeed, before I started doing mirror therapy I was alarmed by the fact that I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in both legs, achillies tendonitis in both lega, morton's neuroma in my right foot, bursitis in both upper thighs, rotator cuff tendinitis in my left shoulder and tennis elbow in my right arm. I just was overwhelmed by all these diagnoses. I know I have some mechanical issues which I deal with by physical therapy and orthotics in my shoes. Dealing with the pain is great but where there are mechanical issues you must address those weaknesses by therapy. Mechanical issues can develop as a flow on from other things such as postural change and weakness from chronic pain.

In the book "Explain Pain" by Dr Lorimer Moseley and David Butler there is a very good explanation of what they call "smudging the neurotag". In chapter 4 they talk about a change to the outer cortex of the brain which they describe as "smudging" brain areas normally for specific body parts or functions. They say, "the more chronic pain becomes, the more advanced the changes in the brain become". However this change is known to be reversable.

I believe when I watch the mirror image of my pain free leg moving in a way that would be painful for my other leg, I am reinforcing the "It's OK" message and reducing the smudging in the brain. Over time I am in less and less pain. I notice less muscle spasm and sometimes can feel muscles relax. Where my back is concerned I keep doing the leg exercises in front of the mirror for short periods and several times a day until the whole left side settles and also the back. I didn't think I could stop my back burning. I thought it would only work with a side but over time the back is relieved as well. Today my back is burning. I have used the mirror three times today and will continue to do so. I speculate that if I had upper back pain that using an arm to exercise instead of a leg might work. I base this on the fact that from time to time I forget to do arm exercises to strengthen a weakness that causes rotator cuff tendonitis. When the shoulder flares up so does the whole left side. Watching my right arm exercise in the mirror over time takes away the whole left side pain. First the left leg improves and about the same time my left face settles. If you can picture a reduction in pain from top and bottom gradually reducing to the primary cause which is my shoulder.

This has been a bit long winded in explanation. Please ask if I have not explained this well.

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