Your Brain On Fire

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Pain impulses are perceived as increasingly intense over time, even when nothing anatomically has changed. This is called “sensitization.”

Skill Requires Repetition

Consider how you learn almost any new skill.  It is with initial education of the proper movements and then, “practice, practice, practice.”  Every performing art and athletic skill requires this sequence.  One example is a major league baseball player hitting a 95 mph fastball.  It is impressive to me that it can be done.  If you then think of the tens of thousands of people trying to seriously play the sport, there are only very few that make it.  Of those who actually make it to the major leagues, only a small percentage are able to have a batting average over 300.  The same rigorous practice applies also to any high-level musician. What some can do on a piano is unbelievable, but none of this can occur without repetition.

Pain is Learned Quickly

My patients become very frustrated when they find out that there are no changes in the structure of their spine and their pain is much worse. They feel like I don’t really believe them.

With chronic pain, the pain impulses to your brain are much more frequent than high-level performers learning their skills.  You probably receive a lifetime of “major league swings” in a few months. Your nervous system, with its adaptability, has learned to process pain impulses in a very efficient manner.  It is common, if not the rule, to feel more pain, even though nothing has anatomically changed.

I do believe you. Your brain is on fire.