“Self-directing neuroplastic changes in the brain can alter the projectory of your life and move you from merely surviving to thriving.” – AH
Understanding that the root of pain is much more than something that occurs in the physical body can be essential in finding your way to relief and healing. Typically we think that pain is a warning signal that we need to pay attention to. Pain can be a brilliant built –in protective and survival mechanism that for the most part serves us well in preventing further damage or injury. However, how than can we than explain, in many cases, how pain remains long after injury has fully healed, and in extreme cases, in a limb that has been amputated? Furthermore how can we explain away the many sufferers of long time chronic pain with no known cause of origin? In these cases it is often the disorganized circuits in the brain that are associated with trauma that are at the very root of pain itself. The resulting cross-wired neural circuits are sending the body pain signals that are actually false messages or stored memories of pain/trauma. Take for example – phantom limb pain. With phantom limb pain the patient often still feels not only the missing limb, but the pain in the limb. We have since deduced that during trauma the neural circuits in the brain become disorganized which can result in the sensation of pain. Therefore, in this case the root of pain is actually in brain function and not in the tissue itself.
“Painful conditions such as Phantom Limb Pain (PLP) may be the result of inappropriately stored or chronically activated pain memories that continue to disturb the subject even after the disease or injury has been successfully treated. These memories are a major factor in the maintenance of PLP, and disengagement of such memories may have a lasting effect on PLP. Methods that are potent in processing traumatic memories might also be effective in reducing the effective dimensions of pain memories to a situation-appropriate level”. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886995/
So if being able to make the leap to understanding that pain isn’t always isolated to a specific body part or organ but to cross firing neural pathways in our brains – we must than also examine how your brain reacts to TRAUMA in order to unpack how trauma affects your body.
“When comparing the brains of someone with acute, short-term pain and those with chronic back pain, it was found that acute pain was registered in the parts of the brain that typically deal with pain. But chronic pain was registered in the parts of the brain that handles emotion.”
Emotions, like fear and love, are carried out by; you guessed it – the LIMBIC SYSTEM. While the limbic system is made up of multiple parts of the brain, the center of emotional processing is the amygdala, which receives input from other brain functions, like memory and attention. The amygdala is responsible for multiple emotional responses, like love, fear, anger and sexual desire. Shippensburg University states that in animal studies, stimulation or removal of the amygdala alters the emotional response: electrical activation causes aggression, while surgical removal results in indifferent emotional reactions. Therefore, damage to the amygdala can result in abnormal emotional responses, and overstimulation causes excessive reactions. The hippocampus is another part of the limbic system that sends information to the amygdala. One of the memory processing centers of the brain, the hippocampus interacts with the amygdala when a person has memories with emotional ties. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research adds that the connection between the hippocampus and amygdala “may be the origin of strong emotions triggered by particular memories,” which explains emotional responses to traumatic memories.
“Pain flashbacks have been described as a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, but can also occur in subjects who no longer meet the criteria for PTSD. These flashbacks resemble the pain experienced during the traumatic event and are triggered by specific environmental or internal stimuli, suggesting a classically conditioned response. The similarity of the flashbacks in quality and location to the original pain experience, the triggering of flashbacks by trauma-related cues, and the associated emotional arousal and avoidance suggest the involvement of a somatosensory memory mechanism.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886995/
This is important to understand when you think about treating your own chronic pain whether acute/chronic or tied into post traumatic symptoms and memories – thoughts, emotions, beliefs and expectations matter. And while not always obvious to us – the root of our pain can lie in our brain – and more specifically be the result of limbic system impairment. As we learn more about the brain and its role in our overall health and well-being, we are also beginning to understand that the brain is the control center for optimal health. Self-directing neuroplasticitic changes in the brain can alter the projectory of your life and move you from merely surviving to thriving. Teaching and guiding people on how to retrain your brain is at the heart of Annie Hopper and the Dynamic Neural Retraining System. We are endlessly amazed and encouraged by the numerous brave souls who courageously show up and learn the system that ultimately gives them back the reins on their health and happiness with the tools that they will use for the rest of their lives!
Meet Naurguis, who suffered with chronic pain for over twenty years until attending a five day live seminar with the Dynamic Neural Retraining System in Zurich in 2012.
“So I feel after leaving on the fifth day of this course, that I am leaving with such deep knowledge and understanding regarding the causation factor of what had led me to come to this course – and now I am completely transformed.” See her full story here: https://youtu.be/fyUhh98ia0Q
“You are not alone, your suffering has not been in vain, and you can live the life that you dreamed of, even if you stopped dreaming a long time ago.”
– Annie Hopper – Wired for Healing