What is Therapeutic Neuroscience Education?
Pain is a normal human experience. Without the ability to experience pain, people would not survive. Living in pain, however, is not normal.
The old and out-dated biomedical model of pain assumes that injury and pain are the same thing, but they’re not. The ‘tissue model’ of blaming pain on a structure, movement or faulty position doesn’t work either, but it does increase fear and anxiety, and that will negatively affect recovery.
If you’re seeking treatment for pain, there’s little point in teaching you about joints and muscles, we need to be teaching you about PAIN. Teaching patients about structure doesn’t make sense, and doesn’t answer the question “Why do I hurt?” This is especially true if pain has persisted beyond any normal healing time.
Injury and trauma aside, pain is more due to a sensitive nervous system; the body is in alarm mode rather than on quiet.
People in pain want to understand why they’re in pain and how it works. Learning the biological process of pain is called neuroscience education and that in itself has a positive therapeutic effect, hence ‘Therapeutic Neuroscience Education’.
So what effect does learning about pain science have?
– Pain decreases
– Function improves
– Fear diminishes
– Thoughts about pain are more positive
– Knowledge of pain increases
– Movement improves
– Muscles work better
– Patients spend less money on medical tests and treatments
– The brain calms down (as seen on brain scans
– People are more willing to do much-needed exercise
Not being fearful or anxious, and feeling like you’re in control of what’s happening is so important to recovery. The locos of control being with you and not your therapist is equally important for your recovery.
Pain is complex, but patients can easily understand how it works and take control of their pain.
When a patient learns more about pain and how it works, their pain eases considerably and they experience a variety of other benefits, such as increased movement, better function and less fear. These effects are measurable and believed to do more than some of the most powerful drugs in the world, without any of the side-effects.
Instead of only seeing pain form a “broken tissue” perspective, they see pain from a sensitive nervous system perspective; they understand they may have a pain problem rather than a tissue problem. This neuroscience view of sensitive nerves versus tissue injury allows for a new, understandable view of treatments aimed at easing nerve sensitivity, such as aerobic exercise, manual therapy, relaxation, breathing, sleep hygiene, diet and more.
Is manual therapy still helpful then?
Yes! Manual therapy can’t structurally change anything from the outside of your body, but receiving manual therapy on a painful back causes the brain to release neurotransmitters (chemicals) which work to decrease pain. Psychologically too, it’s also really helpful to have comfortable, pleasant sensations coming from a region which has been feeling uncomfortable and unpleasant.
If you’re in pain, we can help you!
Come in for a FREE consult. We’re here to help.