Feel the fear. Say it anyway.

Some stories have to be shared, no matter how scared it makes you feel.

I’m literally shaking at the thought of posting this, firstly because I’m unsure of the reaction I’ll get and secondly because it’s so important to me to raise awareness for this disease that I have suffered from for the past 4 years.

To read the rest of Rachael’s story: follow this link…

 

Feel the fear and say it anyway.

This is Rachael’s story.

My daughter’s story.

IBD, ostomy, colectomy

Ten days later

You might remember the mill. We’ve been through it often enough. The rollercoaster duly threw in its ups and downs. The screams echo inside and it seems like it’ll never end. One long nightmare ride that can’t be real. An end that never comes into sight.

It takes an age to progress. The future is so far off that time distorts its blanket and wraps eternity around each day. The team is shorthanded. There aren’t enough skills to go around. National policy trumps clinical discretion.

And then the future arrives.

With enough challenging of the accepted norm, we find the one surgeon who believes his own judgment matters. He stands up & gets counted. We count on him.

A long day and five hours pass.

Much sooner than anyone expected, the pain subsides and the healing takes hold.

Much sooner than anyone expected.

She’s home.

Paper Drum © Vinum

Paper Drum
© Vinum

Paper Drum: The EP

Pain & Hypnotherapy. What’s the answer?

I’ve been having long distance virtual conversations again. People have started asking me interesting and searching questions. I like it. It keeps me on my toes. Grounded.

Occasionally stops me waffling.

Dawn, of Finding My Inner Courage fame, asked one which cut straight to the heart of what I do. It sounded so simple…

“Could you please explain to me how hypnosis works with chronic pain?”

‘Ah, one of the difficult ones’, I thought, paraphrasing Wen, enlightened figment of Terry Pratchett’s fertile imagination.

This was either going to involve writing my first book, (quite a good idea actually but perhaps not just yet), or would really test my ability to be succinct. You may have gathered that I tend to pad my prose with sideways off-shoots as they arrive in my head whilst I type. What I sent her was quite a good summary of this complex subject and I thought it might be worth sharing.

So here is my bite-sized reduction of the totality of the Chronic Pain Experience and how Hypnotherapy addresses it:

There are two parts to this: How does ‘pain’ happen and How does Hypnotherapy address this?

How does Pain  happen?

In essence, pain is the result of lightning fast calculations that your brain makes as a result of the totality of the many sensory inputs it has. This includes your nerve impulses, hormonal communications, emotional state, and your unconscious thoughts/feeling/beliefs (which are internally created sensory inputs).

Your brain uses these to assess your current situation and various potential future situations and makes decisions about your current and future safety, particularly with regard to the potential for physical damage.

Pain is an alarm which your brain can choose to trigger (PLEASE NOTE: this is not a conscious decision or choice – it is automatic. You can’t consciously choose not to feel pain!). Your brain will only decide to trigger pain if it assesses that you are in danger AND that pain is the most appropriate alarm to use. (Think about soldiers in mid-battle, athletes in competition, parents whose children are in danger – all have been known to suffer major injury and still function without pain – The pain comes later, if at all).

Pain is essentially an attention-grabbing alarm. It stops you in your tracks and insists, (very loudly), that you do something to protect yourself.It is vital to survival.

When you feel pain, your brain increases the sensitivity of the nerves which indicated the damage. It wants to know as much as it can, quickly.

It triggers healing & protection responses (inflammation, muscle tension etc.). These in turn can trigger increases in sensitivity.

Important: You should always seek medical advice if you have persistent or unexpected pain

The pain alarm can misfire in two ways:

  1. The sensitivity fails to reduce when the healing process has completed. The brain misinterprets increased sensitivity as increased damage and increases the sensitivity yet again to be sure it knows as much as it can about the damage. Instead of gradually lowering the threat level, the alarm hyper-sensitises itself and sets up a vicious circle. You keep feeling pain because you keep feeling pain because you keep feeling pain…
  2. If your environment is threatening, your brain’s base level for alarms is set very high anyway. You are constantly on high-alert. You get very jumpy about injury and so feel pain much more quickly than ‘normal’. A key point here is that your ‘environment’ includes how you feel, so if you feel bad about yourself. (limiting beliefs, self-loathing, lack of self-worth, lack of love etc.), your brain treats this in the same way as a physically threatening environment.

How does Hypnotherapy help?

Essentially hypnotherapy works in 3 ways.

  1. It uses hypnotic trance to temporarily convince the brain that it is safe. As an example, ‘Dissociative Trance States’ dissociate ‘you’ from your entire ‘body’ or just the ‘part’ of your body which hurts. This convinces your brain that the threat is longer relevant to ‘you’. You now feel no pain. This is really effective for hypnotic anaesthesia. It can be dangerous to use these techniques in isolation because pain is an essential warning tool. 
  2. Hypnotherapy can be effective in the longer term by addressing the perceived level of threat in your environment. This can be either by helping you discover resources which give you perceived control in a physically threatening environment or by addressing any deeply embedded underlying personal issues as discussed above. This reduces the environmental threat level and ‘resets’ the sensitivity of your pain alarm to normal levels.
  3. Hypnotherapy can re-connect the mind and body, which Western Society believes to be separate. This allows you to bring some control and guidance to your natural healing ability and to focus this healing on those areas which have been injured or damaged. This is effective in long term pain relief because healing actually does improve AND increases your unconscious’ sense of control, reducing the need for a pain alarm to be triggered. Essentially, if you are already dealing with the threat, your unconscious doesn’t need to remind you of that threat. (This is one of the reasons that toot-ache often stops once you sit down in the dentist’s waiting room – you have already taken the action needed, so the alarm stops).

I thought this worked quite well as a high-level walk down the road I travel and it’s a different style of post than I usually do, although as you can tell, I couldn’t completely resist the chatter.

Let me know what you think. I

It might be worth writing some more of these.

Related:

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Relief for Chronic Pain Conditions

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Migraine Relief

Hypnotherapy mp3 for Healing & Relief Pre & Post Surgery

Hypnotherapy mp3 chronic pain migraine

You say that’s safe?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Isn’t it Grand!

Many Thanks to all those who helped this arrive today!
1,000 Followers!

Congratulations on getting 1,000 total follows on Posts of Hypnotic Suggestion.

Your current tally is 1,001.

Dog-fights, hypnotherapy and MP3s

Why is it that every time I sit down to record a carefully designed and well-thought out therapy MP3, the good-old Royal Air Force decide that it is also exactly the right time for their Typhoons to practice dog-fights above my house? And just in case you haven’t been fortunate enough to be subjected to this display of technological military might, those buggers are really loud when they get going; I mean proper loud. I understand that practice makes perfect and all that but why is it every time I sit down and switch on my digital recorder the air becomes a pilot’s playground?

The more astute ones amongst you may have noticed a certain use of language in that little rant of mine because obviously it’s not every  time I try, otherwise I’d never get anything recorded at all, would I? And I have, obviously. There’s four of them sat in my shop, not to mention all those bespoke ones I’ve sent off to clients following their therapy sessions. Although, now I mention it, on those rare occasions when combat isn’t the order of the day, children play outside the house or the neighbour’s decide to start the car and leave it running whilst discussing whatever it is loudly enough to be picked up on the recording. Strangely though, the birds go quiet. The one noise that actually works quite well, birdsong, becomes mysteriously absent.

It’s strange just how much something turns up when you get tuned into it. Once something is on life’s sonar, it keeps on pinging its presence no matter how much you try to ignore it. This only becomes a big issue if your personal sonar keeps alerting you to the fact that everything around you is negative and out to disrupt your plans. Therein lies stress and anxiety, phobia and pain, throwing your life into protection mode. After all if everything around you is negative, priority needs to be given to staying safe.

Once that switch gets flipped, the spiral twirls its way firmly downwards. Being on high-alert is more effective. It means you get to know about dangers sooner. So you go ahead and get your alarms set on extra-sensitive and guess what? All of a sudden, you notice even more of those negative whatsits which in an odd way is strangely reassuring because it would be quite unsettling to feel as though everything were going wrong but when you looked you couldn’t see anything bad at all.

If you look at life through alarm filters designed to spot bad things, that my friend, is exactly what you’re going to see. It makes perfect sense. Alarm filters are absolutely not going to alert you to life’s little wonders now are they? It would be crazy to want to need to know when something bad was about to happen if all your alarm system wanted to tell you was that the wild-flowers are looking particularly lovely today. It’d be like something out the HitchHiker’s Guide, good book(s) though it (they) may have been in its (their) day. Douglas was definitely odd in his outlook on writing which was after all his appeal. It’s a real shame he didn’t stay around to do even more. I particularly liked the free-fall whale and the petunias. Not to mention cricket.

We could, of course, now choose to spin off into all sorts of geopolitical equivalence and how the powers that be may not actually be the powers that we elect, for those of us with the apparent ability to actually vote for those we are told hold the power. But conspiracy theory and purple lizards aside, I think we’ll stay in the realm of the individual.

One of the keys to successful therapy is to retune those high-alert alarms so they return to their correct role of letting you know when something actually harmful is on its way, whether this be the physical modern-day equivalent of the toothéd beastie or indeed that all-consuming issue of any creature living amongst its kin, the social faux pas. What alarms ought to do is to protect you when there really could be some harm coming your way, not spook you with every single negatively nuanced interpretation of anything at all that could possibly be construed as not quite as good as you might have wanted and then clothe it as truly villainous.

As well as retuning the alarm system, the other delightful focus of therapy is to show you how, without even really being aware of how you do it, to start to notice all those things which really do begin to show you that the world which has been scaring you to death, almost literally, really does hold increasing volumes of worthwhile stuff (sorry for the highly technical terminology) and despite your best efforts, once you start to notice it, worthwhile stuff turns up all over the place.

Pretty soon, without knowing quite how, you aren’t under such constant threat any more. Without knowing quite how, you begin to realise that you’ve been noticing things that keep hinting to you that you’re actually feeling little bit better. Without knowing quite how, you went for that interview and something tells you did well. Without knowing quite how, the pain well, isn’t. And without knowing quite how, you revised successfully for that exam in half the time and with none of the stress.

And the truly weird thing is, you do it all by yourself. All the therapy does is show you what you’re already capable of doing. And once you’ve seen it, or to be exact, once your unconscious mind has seen, heard, felt, understood or other mode of representational filter, it, a sentence which does work, re-read it if you don’t believe me, you just can’t help but go right ahead and do it, like those mythical sisters of old, for yourself.

And if you’re still not convinced, it’s just possible that quite soon, looking back and thinking about it, you’ll realise that you noticed a few things which let you know you felt a little better. And later on, you might find that without really meaning to look, there were even more that you could have noticed but didn’t at the time…

I just thought of one. It made me smile.

art therapy hypnosis

Art or eyesore?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Related Links

Typhoon: A demonstration of extreme manoeuverability

Tony Burkinshaw: Hypnotherapy MP3s

Learning the hard way?

The road to success is paved with whatever the hell they decided to put there to trip you up and teach you a lesson. Learn the hard way. The point is, I’m slowly getting more adept at spotting the obstacles and gently meandering my way around them. I can’t quite make up mind as to whether my lack of headlong dash is down to external or internal barriers and given that I nearly know what I’m talking about, it’s almost certainly both.

You see, those of you who’ve been here before, (deliberately ambiguous, although neither syntactic, phonological nor punctuation in variety, just plain could mean something else depending on your viewpoint and right now I can’t recall the correct adjective, (or is it adverb), modifier), will understand, which is in itself a mind-read, that one of my underlying objectives in this not-so-rapidly approaching future is not to work too hard.

Herein lies one of the difficulties in my plan. Negative objectives are counter-productive and invariably fire off in the opposite direction to the one intended, unless of course you subscribe to reading between the lines and then of course it is firing off in the direction intended, just not the direction I was consciously thinking of at the time. Self-sabotage and all that.

If I don’t want to work too hard I have to hold in the back of my mind a concept, picture, cerebral noise or whatever the particular modality of choice happens to elicit in order to be able to know whether I am indeed working too hard or not. And of course if I hold this in my mind, two things happen. I subscribe to the don’t-cycle-into-that-tree targeting beloved of parents who then have to contend with the grazed knees of 5 year olds who conscientiously concentrated on that very tree so hard that the inevitable became, well, inevitable. Or I achieve my objective by doing everything except working hard. And in order to ensure that this done with style, the only way to be certain is not to work enough. Bugger.

Obviously this is not what I wanted so I now work towards enjoying how I earn a living, no matter how much or little time that happens to take up. After all, time is not really the issue. Lifestyle is the issue. Week by week, my time is becoming more and more my time. Hooray.

Unfortunately, the general public, (not you of course), doesn’t appear to have heard of me in sufficient numbers as yet. At least not to the point of any sort of self-sustainability. Despite multiple efforts with my google page, Google appears to ignore me on searches where other nearby, and not so nearby, pages pop up and wave at searches where I ought to be figuring. Never mind. It’s only Google and they can’t even spell their own name correctly according to Legend, (good film, not a bad remake).

The good part about being well-versed in hypnotics is that I have already seen myself in the future, working just enough in a style that actually isn’t work at all. It’s also not too far away, though to be fair I haven’t seen myself holding up a calendar and pointing to a date. Suffice it to say, when I peer towards that future me, I still have hair.

The positives are still positive. The MP3 downloads for Chronic Pain, Migraine and Post-Surgery Healing have had some good feedback in the efficacy department and more on-line support groups are becoming interested. I have ideas bubbling for some more.

The key positive change has turned out not be a change at all. I was expecting a fork in the road or at least a cross-roads but no. What has actually turned up has been a path which drives directly between the twin highways of my current multi-career. I hypnotherapise clients and also train and assess in Financial Services (capitalising as it were, on my previous background). I enjoy both. One fulfils the technical geekiness that I seem to find easy to translate into English and the other allows me to help clients move forward in whatever their journey of development happens to be, in whatever way happens to suit them.

Strangely, the middle path just opened up in front of me on 21st June, which I’ve only just realised was the Summer Solstice so I can’t be quite as far gone as some would have me believe. According to a least one person very close to me, I am now a member of the cult of Cognitive Hypnotherapy. Maybe I should talk about it less enthusiastically.

I was in Bracknell, a place not renowned for revelations or miracles although it was the only place I have watched 4 families of Canada geese, complete with about 20 goslings, wait patiently for the lights at the pedestrian crossing and then cross the road. Well it was peak rush hour, so I suppose they were just being safe. Anyhow, having reconnected with a variety of companies I provide freelance training for, one of them called on my mobile and, rather than wanting my services for technical training of the Financial variety, wanted to know if I could write some face to face training for delegates who found professional qualifications time-consuming, stressful and to put it bluntly, pointlessly boring. He knew I was a Cognitive Hypnotherapist you see and wanted to know if there was anything I now knew that could be transferred into the technical learning sphere.

Well of course there could be! Much of the knowledge I’ve gained during my time at Quest in Regent’s University could easily be transferred into this.  Not only that but Trevor, the driving force behind Cognitive Hypnotherapy had honed his hypnotherapy skills whilst working as a trainer himself. As well as starting to pull my own ideas together I got in touch with Quest to see what resources they might have which could assist. I spoke with Jan, marvel that she is, on the 24th June who promptly told me that Universe was speaking to me and I should sit up and take notice. Quest’s three yearly cycle of master practitioner training events just happened to be running the very course I needed, that very weekend – only 5 days away.

Needless to say after much, well not much really, debate, I cancelled my trip to see my mother-in-law (sorry Sheila) and began the journey to what may well be a key part of my future. Over the 3 day course, idea after concept after technique kept slotting themselves into the gaps and bridged the gulf between the two areas I had thought would always remain separated.

So whilst I remain committed to helping clients through pain and stress and other difficulties, I see a future opening up where the help I now have the knowledge, (the skills were already in place), to give is to coach and train people in how to learn in a style that suits them. Most of are destined to learn in whichever way we happened to pick up whilst at school. We simply do it harder and for longer as the degree of complexity and difficulty increases and the exams get tougher and time becomes less available. It’s one thing learning ineffectively whilst in an education establishment, it’s another altogether when you’re trying to expand your full-time-consuming career. It’s like discovering you’re sailing in the wrong direction and putting up more sails to go faster and whatever you do, keep going straight ahead into the storm.

So a key strand which is already falling into place is training groups in effective learning techniques and coaching individuals where they find there are barriers to learning that they can’t get past. It’s applicable in the realm I usually train within, that of professional qualifications but is equally, and perhaps more importantly, applicable to those who are still within the education system.

Most curricula lack content which ensures that each individual is given the opportunity to discover how they learn best. We all receive, process and recall information in our own ways. We all learn differently but are all taught the same. Surely it’s important to give everyone the opportunity to discover their own path. Imagine how much more exciting and fulfilling learning would be. Who needs stress?

Whatever will you learn next?.

effective learning  & hypnosis MP3

Get over it…
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Related:

www.cognitivehypnotherapy.org

http://tonyburkinshaw.co.uk

The WordPress Family (Award)

 

wordpressfamilyaward

Shaun started this award on MARCH 4th 2013 and has had well over 1000 ping backs when someone Awards this to someone else.

It simply represents the WordPress Family and especially the support that exists out there within WordPress. Words have power.

So I am now going to Award the 10 newest people/friends who have followed my blog and welcome them to my ever-expanding WordPress circle.

Celebrate. It’s fun.

Rules:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family

4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them

5. That is it. Just please pick 10 people who have taken you as  a friend, and spread the love

10 Nominations for Award 

1. http://fivequickminutes.wordpress.com/

2. http://nzfiend.wordpress.com/

3. http://trueheartforreal.wordpress.com/

4. http://allmostrelevant.com/

5. http://mybitchinblogspot.wordpress.com/

6. http://radiatingblossom.wordpress.com/

7. http://threewiseguyspodcast.wordpress.com/

8. http://glamlifeofme.wordpress.com/

9. http://stuffitellmysister.me/

10. …and this is Shaun:  http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/

As he says, “More Love, Less Hate”

I agree.

Tools You Need in the Kit Bag on Your Healing Chronic Illness Journey

As always, I stay on the lookout for blogs which will add meaning for you. Much of my recent Cognitive Hypnotherapy work has revolved around clients in pain and so I suppose it’s not surprising that I came across Grace’s blog.

Grace Quantock, in her own words, is a ‘former sick chick turned wellness provocateur’. who ‘blazed [her] own trail to healing and now helps others to do the same’. That’s what her post is about – helping others in pain to help themselves on their journey to healing.

She has a friendly and very informative website which is where her blog is based. I’d recommend checking it out. Simply click here to read Grace’s latest post.

who knows where?© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

who knows where?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Pain Procrastination and Broken Cycles

Here’s a thing. Whilst I’ve been attending to things other than blogging, for a variety of good and not-so good reasons, I’ve discovered something interesting. When I have a task that I don’t want to do, my unconscious mind does everything in its power to make it a difficult as possible to do undertake the task. Now, I used to think of this as procrastination, I’ve procrastinated all my life, putting things off until the last possible moment and then working away like someone who’s working hard to win the hard working competition by working harder than a hard worker would normal work when working hard. And so on. But perhaps there’s more to it than that.

You see, I’m just that little bit more self-aware than I used to be and I reckon that I actually run two types of procrastinatory algorithms in my library of mental sub-routines. You could call them the Good and the Bad. Which unfortunately leaves me as being the Ugly, but there you go. In previous musings I’ve let you into the secrets of how I use procrastination as a means of cramming more good things into the time when I ought to be, by the standards of those who subscribe to dainty elephant-eating etiquette, working consistently towards achieving the goals and sub-goals beloved of the aforementioned munchers of pachyderm micro-morsels.

My view? Basically, stuff the perceived wisdom of those elders and betters who achieve their goals a small sub-goal at a time spread out over a sensible time period to avoid stress. I belong to the relatively smaller world of folk who would rather not have elephant for every meal and are better suited to a sampling wide variety of fare secure in the knowledge that when the time comes, as surely it will, there is more fun and productivity to be gained by diving into elephant feasting for a week or so and eating my fill whilst achieving the same ultimate goal in a fraction of the time.

What I’ve discovered and what I think has up until now obscured the view and prevented me from identifying a propensity to working better under pressure by choice, is that I also self-sabotage when there’s a task ahead that I dread. I’ve always had tasks that I dread, it’s just that up until now  my reaction to these has had the same outward appearance as those tasks that I put off because simply because I subconsciously know that I’ll perform more efficiently if I do. It’s only really now that I can tell the difference.

So what constitutes dread. For a start, it is not the difficulty. I can do hard. I can do intricate. I can do complex. I’m particularly good at dealing with a task where I’ve no idea how it’s going to pan out or what I am actually going to do – it’s enough simply to know that there must be a way through it, even though I may have absolutely no idea what that way might be when I start. I just know I’ll get through it. A bit like realising that getting lost is always temporary. If it wasn’t, you’d be lost forever.

In essence, I’ve got a project on at the moment which has really made me look at why I have delayed it and deferred it beyond reason. It turns out that my particular flavour of dread is a task at which I think I might fail because I fear that I am less skilled or knowledgeable than my peers. Where I think I might finally get found out as the fraud that the back of my mind whispers to me that I really am in moments of self-doubt.

That was a bit of en eye-opener. Useful though. Now I know what is going on I can do something about it. So I have. I looked it full in the face, worked out where it was in the cycle of repetitive failure and broke it. The beast of a task is now two thirds done and under control, on time for the deadline.

And as is usual in these posts, there’s the twist and turning of the imagination and the concurrent dealings I’ve been dealing which have uncanny parallels. As you know, in my brave new world of Cognitive Hypnotherapy, my particular focus is on pain management, fertility issues and stress related difficulties.

By co-incidence, over the same three weeks in which I’ve been wrestling with beastly workloads, I’ve fallen across a host of information on chronic pain. Articles, blogs by sufferers, on-line communities, scientific papers and the like. Almost without trying, it seems that I’ve had three weeks of soaking up more and more fascinating information. It all just makes me more and more convinced that what I’ve set out do achieve is exactly right. It is really quite stunning just how many people there are out there who suffer with chronic pain that proves incredibly difficult to treat. Until you have a reason to look, you tend to believe that good old western medicine with its multi billion pound/dollar pharmaceutical industry has got it all under control.

Not so.

There however some hopeful signs. More and more is being researched and written about how pain, particularly chronic pain, manifests itself and the mechanisms which produce it and cause it to repeat and repeat and repeat, despite whatever medical interventions are thrown at it. This is where the parallels with my self-sabotaging procrastination struck me. Bear with me, I’ll explain.

There are situations where, neurons get so used to pain that they display similar attributes to muscle memory, you know, where neural pathways develop which allow ever faster replication of muscle co-ordination and movement with less and less conscious thought. It appears that the same can occur with pain. the neurons get so used to perceiving pain, that they do it with less and less stimulation. They get better and better at telling you you’re in pain.

In addition, there’s a type of gating system in the spine which helps to regulate the perceptions of the three types of nerves which transmit touch-related feeling, (high-level short-term pain & lower-level chronic-pain and then touch itself). It seems to operate in ‘centres’ in the spine where these three nerve types pass in close proximity to each other. Whichever is the stronger of these impulses tends to get priority and closes the ‘gate’ for the others, suppressing their perception. For example, if touch is the strongest, then any other pain related sensory information is over-ridden and doesn’t get through. Likewise if one of the pain sensations is strongest, then the touch related information is less important and becomes restricted.

Here’s an interesting thing. What you think about appears to have a major effect too. Well it must do, if you think about it. Consider this, if touch happened to be the strongest impulse, then that sensation would get through. However, if there wasn’t any way of down-regulating that information then we would spend all day at the office being fully aware of the feel of the fabric on our arms, the shoes on our feet, the pressure of the chair on our well rounded backside and so on. So there’s a mechanism which shuts this information down and allows us to concentrate on issues which are far more important to our lives.

In essence, if we are in an already-safe-so-it’s-OK-to-carry-on kind of a mode then we send a deregulating signal down our spines which also shuts the gate. It’s called descending inhibition. This is what means that we simply don’t notice the touch of the clothes we wear unless something draws it to our attention. We aren’t constantly aware of how hot or cold or just right the temperature of the room is and so on. It also means that people who are in pain but who are experiencing something more important at the time, ten not to notice the pain. Think battlefield wounds, think sports injuries, think children playing happily with grazed knees. Think Manteo Mitchell who ran the last 200m of his 4x400m Olympic relay with a broken leg. He knew he’d broken it too. He still ran it in in 46.1 seconds. Amazing.

The thing is, this system also works in reverse. If you are in protection mode, not feeling safe, then your brain is on the look out for anything that might be dangerous; anything that might indicate you are under attack. And what’s its primary warning system? Pain. So what do you think your body does if it’s in protection mode, feeling defensive? It puts it’s pain sensor system on alert and opens those pain gates up wide. Just in case. The difficulty is, if you’re already in pain, it becomes ever more difficult to down-regulate the ‘gate’. Descending inhibition becomes almost impossible

So here’s one possibility of how the cycle might run where there’s apparently no residual physical issue causing the very real levels of pain that can be experienced by a chronic sufferer. Long term experience of pain tends to send most individuals into a state of self-protection, whether physically, (holding yourself to restrict movement which exacerbates pain), or mentally, (from feeling just down and fed-up, those low levels of energy which tell you to give up and stay in bed, right through to serious levels of depression and anxiety).  And what does your brain do when you’re in a self-protective state? It triggers those self-preservation early warning systems and looks for evidence of attack. Open those gates, boys, we need to be ready. Here you go again. It can be a cycle which is extremely difficult to get out of.

The good news, (really, there is some), is that this cycle appears to be able to be interrupted at any point. And if it is successfully interrupted, the cycle breaks and the body has a chance to reset the pain gates. Western medicine is adept at interrupting this cycle at two main points. The site of the initial source of pain, (interventions which assist the healing process) and reducing the pain itself back to manageable levels with a variety of analgesics  Unfortunately, it seems that if these tactics fail, there isn’t much else that medics have up their sleeves.

So how does this sort of cycle work? In essence, we ‘do’ chronic pain in the following way:

  • Something triggers the perception of pain.
  • We react unconsciously to the pain and map it into what we expect the pain to mean for us. If we suffer chronic pain, the brain jumps into its routine reaction and without us even noticing.
  • This triggers an emotional reaction and given that pain is an alarm stimulus, we are likely to react in a negative emotional way
  • The emotion triggers a set of unconscious behaviours. This is often self-protective behaviour such as lethargy, muscle stiffness, depressions and anxiety. The purpose of this could be self-restrict movement and enforce rest, designed to encourage recovery and prevent further damage.
  • It is only really at this point, once all these automatic responses have been triggered, that we realise the conscious perception of the pain.

Now, even though pain medication can be very effective, if it doesn’t work and there’s no apparent physical cause, the only recourse open to western medicine is to try again. Usually with more powerful pharmacology. As our Mr Maslow said, (he of the eponymous hierarchy-of-needs fame), ‘If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail’. In essence, if it didn’t work the first time, hit it harder.

Perhaps one way out of this maze is to find someone with tools designed for use at other points in the cycle as well.

You never know, it just might work.

What’s to lose?

Except maybe the pain.

here to stay or gone for good?© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

here to stay or gone for good?
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Media virgin? Not any more…

I might have mentioned in earlier posts that I was interviewed by a local magazine ‘Only Peterborough’ about Cognitive Hypnotherapy and the role it can play in helping couples undergoing IVF and other related assisted fertility treatments.

Well, the big day duly arrived and the March issue of Only Peterborough has hit the streets. Lo and behold there I am, smiling in a not-quite-hypnotic style at the readers, encouraging them to find out all about Cognitive Hypnotherapy and, coincidentally, me.

The best bit of all is that I didn’t write a single word! It is all the work of Kim Hughes the magazine’s Features Editor. It goes without saying that I think Kim has great taste and superb insight into issues that need to be aired for the benefit of the local populace, (but then me being me I’ve gone and said it anyway).

The link below is a copy of the article itself reproduced by kind permission of Only Peterborough [available in all good shopping outlets in, you guessed it, Peterborough (UK)]

‘Only Peterborough’ article

As the more astute amongst you might have noticed, I’m quite pleased. Not only (pardon the pun) is it useful from a marketing point of view, it also gives really good information and whether people do choose to contact me or not, this means that they are in a better position than before. Nice one Kim.

So all in all, my marketing campaign has begun, my website and contact details are out there in the inter-web, even appearing on my latest Google Alerts email, (other good search engines etc.):

and… finally…

I am no longer a media virgin thanks to Kim & ‘Only Peterborough’

somehow it all comes together© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

somehow it all comes together
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013