(Based on ‘the four pillars’ of brain health)
- Know Thyself – What kind of brain do you have and how does it influence your personality. Does your brain prefer the order and predictability of the known world (LH) or is more interested in the excitement of the new (RH)? Just knowing this about yourself will help you understand a lot about your-self and your relationships with others. Why for example, you don’t like to leave things unfinished (LH) or why too much detail bores you (RH). A good balance of both is best so try and develop the other side of your brain/personality. Read more
Sleeping problems are another effect of severe stress which can exacerbate physical and emotional pain. Disturbed sleep is a symptom of increased physiological arousal. The main effects of lack of sleep are fatigue, depression and concentration and memory problems. Fatigue and depressed mood leads to increased susceptibility to pain and stress and decreased ability to cope. Good sleep enhances your ability to resist pain through the increased energy and functioning it brings. Good sleep is not a luxury; good sleep is also necessary for physical rejuvenation, immune functioning, mood and thinking. Learning how to sleep better is thus one of the most basic strategies for reversing the vicious cycle of stress and pain. Read more
Mrs Ericson’s Induction
A simple self-hypnosis exercise for sleep
• Begin by making yourself comfortable and finding something to focus on. For example, one corner of a door frame, a light switch etc. Then, maintaining your focus on that spot try and notice four things about that object or spot and mentally feed them back to yourself as follows (note; you must use the full wording as below).
Mentally say to yourself; “Right now I can see the light switch is white, right now I can see the shadow at the edge of the switch, right now I can see the switch is a square shape, right now I can see the switch is in the off position.…”.
That was four things. Read more
Secondary gain is a psychoanalytic term which refers to perceived advantages or ‘gains’ patients derive from their symptoms, such as sympathy, attention, avoiding responsibilities etc. Unfortunately, this concept has been turned against chronic pain sufferers with the result that they are often left feeling like failures at best and criminals at worst. May et al (1999) has observed that the disparity between expressed symptoms, pathological signs and perceived disability in CLBP has led to the moral character of the suffer forming a constant subtext to medical discourse about the condition. For example, Nicholas (1996) writes; “a person seeking help for chronic pain could be said to be inactive with secondary physical deconditioning, to hold unhelpful beliefs, to be overly passive or reliant on others for resolution of his/her problems..” Wow. In a recent study where women chronic pain sufferers were found to have greater levels of disability than men, it was speculated that perhaps they were using the pain as an excuse to stay at home, something the author described as “a powerful secondary gain.” (Gatchel 1995). Wasn’t there something called women’s liberation before 1995? Read more
People with chronic pain communicate differently to well people. Tired, irritable and withdrawn, they are often reluctant or unable to talk about their feelings. Or they may talk in a kind of ‘code’ and tell you they feel fine when they are really hurting. Sometimes they just don’t have the words to describe how they feel.
These factors can create frustration and often lead to a breakdown in communication between the pain sufferer those whose mission it is to try and understand them.. The following ‘communication tips’ are designed to help you recognise and overcome the special obstacles that may occur when communicating with persons suffering from chronic pain or illness. Read more
As described earlier, the Bilateral Stimulation component of EMDR has been found to stimulate a rare trio of physical, mental and emotional changes including decreased physiological arousal, relaxation, feelings of drowsiness, decreased ability to worry and feelings of detachment from the problem. These changes may be part of the brain’s seeking system response to novel stimuli (see; ‘What is EMDR and how can it help you to feel better’ for more on this). These changes seem to underpin the treatment efficacy of EMDR. Read more
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) started out as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder, in the early 1990’s. As the name suggests, a unique feature of this treatment is the use of exposure combined with eye movements to transform painful memories and feelings. Unlike “talk-therapies” which rely on expression and insight, EMDR seems to stimulate decreased emotional distress and new associations unconsciously. For example, a traumatized motor vehicle accident victim would be asked to recall certain cognitive and emotional elements of the memory of the accident, and then to simultaneously focus on the bilateral eye stimulation (usually therapist hand movements). The therapist repeats this procedure, tracking changes each time, until the memory is processed. Following this treatment procedure, instead of feeling upset and thinking “I’m gonna die’ when recalling the accident, the person might report feeling calmer and thinking, ‘I almost died – but I survived.’ EMDR cannot change the facts of what happened, but it does seem to change the person’s perspective. Indeed, the whole method is predicated on the notion that human beings have an innate information processing capacity (Adaptive Information Processing system) which is geared for health and healing. Read more
Learning how to feel better requires knowing how to harness the abilities of your brain; your brain enables you to both feel pain and to not feel pain. Neuroscientists have discovered that the best way to change negative feelings is to have an experience that generates different feelings, which is also linked to the painful feelings. Below you will find eight ‘brain-smart’ strategies which will help you to start learning to control your pain and feel better permanently. It is assumed that you have access to appropriate medical help. Read more
EMDR Music and Books
Instantly download music based on EMDR for overcoming pain and purchase Marks books.
Find out about upcoming workshops for those in the field of professional pain management
Read Mark’s helpful Blog Posts for helpful articles on EMDR, BLS, Pain Management and Self Help.