The human body is a marvelous adaptive organism. Our brains are designed to learn from our environment and adapt. For the most part this is a good thing. Sometimes however, it leads to some very serious pain management situations. We know that pain is a signal that tells us there is damage or something wrong with our system. However, with some chronic pain conditions the system (including the brain) gets altered. The pain system gets turned on and cannot be turned off. I call this the “hijacked” brain or what is often referred to as Neuroplasticity (also called brain plasticity, cortical plasticity or cortical re-mapping).
Pain research presented by the American Society of Anesthesiologists has emphasized the molecular transduction of painful stimuli, the sensitization processes that occur after injury and long-term phenomena such as pain memory. Neuroplasticity after surgery occurs at the transduction process, in the central nervous system, where central sensitization occurs.
According to research published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 933:175-184 (2001) titled “Spinal Cord Neuroplasticity following Repeated Opioid Exposure and Its Relation to Pathological Pain;” convincing evidence has accumulated that indicates there are neuroplastic changes within the spinal cord in response to repeated exposure to opioids. Such neuroplastic changes occur at both cellular and intracellular levels. Since so many people living with chronic pain are using opiates these neuroplastic changes need to be better understood and taken into account when treating a problematic chronic pain condition.
To learn more about the role of neuroplasticity in chronic pain management please check out my article Chronic Pain and the Hijacked Brain that you can download for free on our Ariticles page.
If you would like to be skill trained in a collaborative model that also addresses nueroplasticity we have two Addiction-Free Pain Management® Certification Trainings scheduled this Spring—one in Sacramento California on May 18-19 that we are sponsoring and the one at Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital on June 10-12. It’s not to late for people to sign up and in fact by mentioning this Blog I will make sure you get a $20 discount for either training. To get this discount you must call Ellen at (916) 575-9961 and ask her for the discount. For other upcoming trainings you can check out our Calendar page.
You can learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website www.addiction-free.com. If you are working with people udergoing chronic pain management and want to learn how to develop a plan for managing their chronic pain and coexisting psychological disorders including addiction effectively please go to our Publications page and check out my book the Managing Pain and Coexisting Disorders: Using the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System. To purchase this book please Click Here.
To listen to a radio interview I did conducted by Mary Woods for her program One Hour at a Time please Click Here to go to this interview.
To read the latest issue of Chronic Pain Solutions Newsletter please click here. If you want to sign up for the newsletter, please click here and input your name and email address. You will then recieve an autoresponse email that you need to reply to in order to finalize enrollment.