Our modern culture has an unfortunate tendency of treating the brain and the body like two separate systems. We tend to think of the brain as being a computer that pilots this machine called the body, and this common misconceptualization can set us down some frustrating paths when we’re trying to fix nagging issues like chronic pain.
You see, the brain and body are one organism.
When you injure your knee in a skiing accident, that injury is not isolated just in the tissues, bones and ligaments that were acutely affected. The brain also experiences the injury in it’s own way, and the trauma from such an event can be stored within our nervous system for far longer than it takes to heal the physical structure of the knee.
This trauma will often be expressed as pain.
This is one of the big reasons why pain science is such a tricky thing. Our emotional states, the stories we create about our bodies and our experiences, our fears, anxieties, stressors, etc… all of these can create a traumatic nervous response that results in chronic pain.
You can have an acute injury that triggers a radiating pain response over a large area, or in a completely different part of your body. You can even experience a debilitating amount of pain and have nothing physically wrong with you.
Alternately, people can get an x-ray and find that they have serious injuries or dysfunctions in their body, yet experience zero pain from it.
Understanding this, you can begin to see how it would be so frustrating to visit professional after professional, undergo all sorts of physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, medications or surgeries, and still not find relief from that chronic pain.
When people have gone down every other conceivable route to no avail, that’s when they turn to our guest today, Dr. Perry Nickelston.
Dr. Nickelston is an expert in movement assessment and diagnosis, certified and trained as a Functional Movement Specialist and Selective Functional Movement Assessment Specialist. In his work, he helps people reclaim their ability to move pain free by implementing a wide range of techniques and strategies, one of which is play.
One of the most powerful things about playful movement is its ability to nourish the mind, body and emotional states in an integrative fashion. When a person’s chronic pain is stemming from a deep sense of fear or anxiety around movement, being able to engage in rewarding physical activity that sparks a sense of joy and fulfillment is an incredible tool for overcoming the neurological barriers that they are experiencing.
Today’s episode of the EMP podcast is the first of a two part conversation that centers around pain, play, and how we can better our lives by understanding how the brain and body are one complex, integrated organism. When we individuate our physical and neurological systems, we can stop chasing pain and better equip ourselves to treat the root cause of our dysfunctions.
Next week we will wrap up this conversation with Dr. Perry, so if you really enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to like it, leave us a comment, and share it with someone you know who has dealt with (or is currently dealing with) chronic pain.
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