In my previous blog I talked about how in most cases chronic pain is created by an overstimulated nervous system.
In this blog, I will tell you a bit more about why the nervous system is often overstimulated.
Pain is functional. Pain is created by the body for a reason. The body tries to protect you against the threat of (further) damage to your tissue. But if tissue damage has been repaired after 6 weeks to a maximum of 3 months, why is it still necessary to protect you from further tissue damage?? Generating pain to protect you from further tissue damage has then become unnecessary, right?
Yes. Yet the body continues to generate pain (via the nervous system) to protect you, even though there is no threat anymore at all. So the question is, for what threat does the body still want to protect you now??
How it works looks like this:
The threat -> the tension on the nervous system increases -> more tension on the connective tissue (fascia) -> disturbed balance between pull- and pressing loads of the various structures (such as muscles, tendons, connective tissue, bones) in the body -> poorly functioning joints or organs –> formation of trigger points –> narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction) –> poorer blood flow –> less nutrients –> less oxygen –> energy crisis, production of pain- and waste substances –> decrease pH value (it becomes more acidic) –> more sensitive nerve endings –> more quickly pain / tension –> extra ‘protective’ activity nervous system –> again increase tension nervous system etc.
When there is a continuous threat to the body, a process must therefore be continuously initiated to protect your body against this. If this threat does not stop, the nervous system will eventually become chronically over-stimulated, with also the consequence that your pain complaints will become chronic.
Because CONTINUOUSLY a process is being initiated, in which there’s a CONTINUOUS poorer blood flow and so with that also a CONTINUOUS reduced oxygen supply to, among other things, your muscles, you continuously maintain your pain and therefore the pain often also gets worse. This is a scream of the body that it needs attention for something, that something has to change, the body screams HELLO SOMETHING IS GOING WRONG HERE, YOU MUST DO SOMETHING!! And how often do we ignore these signals from the body….
Anyhow, as you can see, there are still a number of steps before you actually experience physical pain. These pain-causing symptoms are nothing but a CONSEQUENCE and a warning from the body that something needs to change. So if you really want to get rid of your pain forever, it doesn’t make sense to only treat these symptoms. Because you have done nothing about all those steps that came before, so those steps are still active!
You could check with yourself whether your pain is less, for example, if you have had a massage, put heat pads on the painful area, take a warm bath, the warmth of the sun in the summer, moving, exercises or stretches, the treatment of for example the physio. All these things improve the blood circulation and thus also improve the oxygen supply. As you can see above, these are the steps that come just before the complaints arise. Therefore, these things often help to temporarily relieve the symptoms (the pain), because there is temporarily better blood flow and a better oxygen supply. However, with these treatment methods nothing is done about the other steps that come before it, such as the very first step; the threat and the 2nd step the increase in tension on the nervous system. The threat and tension increase is therefore still present after these treatments, if it were not, all these treatments would have helped and you would have just gotten rid of your pain.
But what threat still exists if the tissue has already recovered? What matters increase tension on the nervous system?
The reason for tension increase on the nervous system is ALWAYS multifactorial, but one of the major causes of tension increase on the nervous system is stress. Now most people think of stress when you are busy and you are constantly running and flying to get everything done. But stress is so much wider than that. I’m not going to talk about that extensively in this blog because then it will be a whole book. But I do want to mention one of the greatest forms of stress, namely; suppressed unconscious emotions. Yes, unconsciously, you are not even aware of it! And the chance that this is the threat that is one of the main causes of your pain is very VERY high!
In a next blog I wil explain how exactly it works that suppressed unconscious emotions are experienced as a form of stress and tension on your body.