It sounds odd to say, and contrary to pretty much everything that we’ve experienced about pain – but when we have a pain in, for example, our foot, the pain isn’t actually there in our foot – it’s in our brain.
How do we know this? Well, there is much research into this, but one of the most compelling pieces of evidence for this is from those soldiers who return back from conflict with missing limbs. Many will experience ‘phantom limb’ pain, or an incessant itch that needs scratching, in the absent limb (Richardson & Kulkarni, 2017). In another study of those with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), who have unrelenting pain often in a limb, the extreme intervention of surgical removal of the limb, resulted in no change in pain for 26 of the 28 patients (Dielissen et al., 1995).
Once we recognise that the problem is not in the foot, where the pain is felt, but in the nervous system, different solutions become available. And this explains why The Lightning Process, a mind-body training programme that helps to restore better neurological function, has had some life changing successes for those with chronic pain and CRPS. It helps people to learn how to calm down the overactive pathways they are producing the extreme experiences of pain. This is then followed by learning how to switch on pathways that encourage the release of their inner opiates (our body has an extensive medicine cabinet it can use for pain relief (Colloca, 2019)). This combination addresses the cause of the pain, the over active nervous system, and allows for healing and recovery to take place.
For more on this fascinating story watch this video of how 10 year old Barney recovered from CRPS using the Lightning Process…