The brain and pain


The brain and pain

Summary: When deciding to create pain or not, our brain analyzes information from our body and environment, along with past pain experiences, memories and beliefs. A video by Generation Care looks at ways we can better understand the complexity of pain.

When deciding whether to create pain or not, the brain receives information from your body, the environment and your past experiences and beliefs:

  • Body information includes messages about muscles, bones, joints, tendons, inflammation, stress chemicals and movement
  • Environmental information consists of physical environment, mood, emotions, sleep and social support, and
  • The brain reviews protection memories about previous injury, pain, as well as beliefs and thoughts

The brain then decides whether or not to create pain as a protection strategy. This can result in changes to your movement (more stiffness) and your body’s physiology (including inflammation). As a result, your body information is altered, creating new inputs to the brain. This can create a feedback loop that perpetuates persistent pain.

Making changes to key inputs can convince the brain to create less pain. Massage therapy is one way; it can help improve stress, movement and sleep. Other healthcare providers can support positive changes around one’s emotions, thoughts and beliefs. Coupled together, massage and other therapies can help decrease pain and improve an individual’s overall quality of life.



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