Movement and Chronic Pain
Dr Maria Galve Villa outlines the science of chronic pain in this great introductory video “How can physiotherapy help in the management of chronic or persistent pain?” Here she covers:
- pain as a protective mechanism
- factors influencing processing and translation
- the brain in protective mode
- how the brain develops a memory of pain
- common pain cycles that can worsen pain
- breaking the pain cycle
Movement is a great way to calm and build confidence back in the body. Mags Clark-Smith, Movement Specialist and Director of Resolving Chronic Pain, outlines the new research and clinical practices that have given researchers a new paradigm through which to view chronic pain and the brain.
In this insightful video, Mags summarizes:
- key research and clinical concepts that underlie the relationship between movement and pain science
- disorders that are likely to benefit from this and
- limitations and clinical caveats to this approach
The stress response is either on or off. If it is on, it prevents the release of any healing hormones coming into the body. That then perpetuates the chronic pain.
Balancing the autonomic nervous system:
- Is the system staying stuck in the stress response? or
- Is the system having a balanced time in the stress response and a balanced time in the rest-and-relaxation response?
“The old paradigm of chronic pain was to treat all pain the same, in the same way we would treat acute pain. What we are now realising is that for some, there is an interesting way forward where we calm the autonomic nervous system…The balancing of the autonomic nervous system makes a difference to the healing processes within the body.”
Is moving with freedom safe for people with pain?
Yes and no. Activities can cause episodes of pain. But that doesn’t mean it is dangerous or a risk factor for ending up in a lot of pain.
Learn more from about this from Kieran O’Sullivan, Associate Professor in Physiotherapy at the University of Limerick, where he combines teaching, research and part-time clinical practice.
The Alexander Technique for chronic pain
Niall Kelly MSc (Mngt) is an Alexander technique teacher and founding chair of the Irish Society of Alexander Technique teachers.
After 30 years of chronic pain and many unsuccessful treatments to deal with it, Niall came across the Alexander technique in 2001. On seeing how effective it was he trained to become a teacher and qualified in 2004. Since then Niall has been virtually pain free.
Niall applies the practices and principles of human behaviour and performance that Alexander uncovered. These involve focusing on becoming aware of what we do that limits performance or adds to chronic pain, stopping and using specific directions to manage our brain’s responses to stimuli including pain. The only activity involved is lying down and breathing!
In this talk, Niall demonstrates how this approach holds very little risk of further pain or injury and why doing ‘little or nothing’ works very well for chronic pain.
Since qualifying as a teacher in 2004, Niall has been working extensively with singers and instrumentalists in the Irish World Academy at UL. His main focus is on aging well, chronic pain, voice and performance.
“The Alexander Technique is a method of personal education which involves self-awareness and the release of muscle tension that has accumulated over many years of stressful living.
If left unchecked, this excessive muscular tension can give rise, later in life, to common ailments such as arthritis, neck and back pain, migraines, hypertension, sciatica, insomnia and even depression.”