Positive Thinking and Pain Management
Having a positive outlook can sound very simple to people who are not suffering from back pain and irritating to those who are. When you have a persistent back problem it can make you feel very low, you have your good days and the not so good days – when you have the good days make sure you do some of the things that you really enjoy and not just all the stuff you can’t do on the bad days.
Try pacing your self, set goals and objectives to achieve but don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t all work out there’s always tomorrow and that can be a good day too.
Psychological Back Pain
People have often thought that some back pain is all in the mind and to a certain degree it is and it can be. If you have suffered back pain or any pain for a long period, you and your body become accustomed to the pain. You expect it, it is often if not always there, and experience has told you that if you do this or that it will increase in intensity and make your life miserable. Whatever pain you feel in your back needs to be thoroughly investigated medically before anyone should look into any alternative therapies or hypnosis / NLP to help you with coping with the very real pain that you feel.
The pain is real and the degree of the pain is also very real to the person who is experiencing it.
NLP and the relief of Chronic Back Pain
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a set of techniques that can help you understand how you think, and how you can influence them to think about a certain situation differently. This includes how you perceive pain, there appears to have been many cases where people who have suffered with pain for a long time, have been able to dramatically improve their situation using this technique. With the guidance of a Master practitioner the suggestion that the pain is displaced, diminished or altered can change the pain sensations so that the area affected becomes numb rather than painful. This is obviously a very simplified explanation of a far more complex practice. The methods taught help the mind cope with the triggers which are giving our brain messages of pain.
NLP Practitioners are specialists who have been trained and you need to check that your NLP Therapist has been trained to Master Practitioner level.
The official seal of the INLPTA / ABNLP on a certificate is only valid when accompanied by the signature of the Approved Institute/Trainer.
A Practitioner Qualification is only an accomplishment that has been achieved and does not qualify the person to carry out NLP therapy.
Pain Managment Teams
In May 2003 the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Pain Society set out a document outlining good practise. A multidisciplinary approach for individual patient care is highlighted with the team approach matching the patients’ needs. It is recognised that acute (of short duration) pain can lead onto long term or chronic pain if it is not treated appropriately.
The multidisciplinary team usually consists of a Consultant Anaesthetist, a Clinical Nurse Specialist, who work in conjunction with Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists, Pharmacists and Clinical Psychologists. Most people are referred to pain management teams when a back condition has become chronic which is a shame as if earlier referral were offered an acute condition may not need to become a long term problem. Unfortunately the national purse does not go far enough to cover all the treatments therefore often the places at these clinics are limited
If you are fortunate enough to be referred, the team will review your condition and the pain you are suffering from and will from a multidisciplinary co-ordinated approach suggest options to you which will fit in with your lifestyle and hopefully alleviate your pain.
If you have been suffering back pain over a long period of time you may be offered an epidural injection which can be with or without steroids which can be effective in providing relief. This form of pain management will need to be discussed with your pain care team to ensure it is the best choice for your specific problem.
The injections do not always provide the same benefits in all patients and you need to be informed of the all the risks including the side effects and possible complications prior to the procedure.
Tens – Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation this is a machine that is often used for the blocking of pain signals from peripheral nerves. Tens machines stimulate the bodies own endorphins which are chemicals that reduce our perception of pain. Tens machines tend to be used with people who have chronic pain and who would prefer to use this in either combination with or rather than medication. The machine works through sticky gel pads which you place around the area which is causing the pain. A small electrical impulse is then sent through the pad to the peripheral nerves which blocks the pain message which is being sent. The machines are adjustable in their intensity allowing you to increase or decrease the signals reflecting your pain levels; they can be used over a long term with apparently no ill effects.
Research seems to provide differing results in the effectiveness of Tens machines and the results as yet remain inconclusive.There is some research suggesting that it gives no more than a placebo affect and others where it has reduced the need for medication. I think if you have found that a tens machine works for you and many, many people do then it can only be of benefit and if you want to try one them there are numerous on the market which do not cost a fortune.
More research will continue to be done and clearer results will no doubt emerge in the future.