Chronic Pain Video

Ann Alton, PT, DPT Chronic Pain Part 3

Central Sensitization is when the brain becomes accustomed to pain. If you’ve ever heard of Pavlov’s dog, you have some idea of how this works. Pavlov trained his dog to come to a bell when food was ready, and after so long of experiencing pain every time you move, your brain begins to expect it. What Pavlov realized was that, not only did the dog come to the bell, the dog also began to drool. This means that not only did the dog consciously learn that the bell meant food, but his unconscious brain also learned that the bell meant food. In the same way, our brains learn that movement can mean pain. The good news is there are ways to train the brain that movement doesn’t mean pain. In order to do this, we need to touch it teases and nudge it. This can be with some thing as simple as imagining a movement. In this case you would need to imagine the movement as you’re doing it, not looking at yourself doing it. You are imagining the feel of doing it without pain. This means that you need to build your imagination skills so I typically have people start with imagining a happy place. It sounds corny but it works. It works because you are beginning to unlink the idea of movement with pain, and the parts of your brain that associate the two. Another way is to see a picture of what your brain looks like on pain which is all lit up in all the different places that the brain uses to process pain and visualize, or imagine, those areas becoming quiet. This works because your brain is using multiple parts that are used to sound the alarm for pain in order to do this visualization. The brain needs a “quorum” of sorts of these parts to sound an alarm. So you’re freeing up space in your brain so that you can do other things with these areas, and it also help with the brain fog and distraction that comes with feeling pain all the time. Go to my website or email me at to contact me for more information!