Chronic pain conditions can be triggered by human emotions, research shows

Widespread diseases like sciatica, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions may be triggered by human emotions, leading researchers have suggested.

Georgie Oldfield MCSP from Huddersfield, who runs SIRPA, a company founded in 2010 to teach healthcare professionals and coaches how to help individuals address the underlying causes of chronic pain and other persistent symptoms, has been a physiotherapist since 1983.

The 62-year-old was employed by the NHS for decades before leaving the health service to become self-employed, run her own business and focus more on helping people in pain.

Ms. Oldfield has for years treated patients in the public and private sectors who could not relate their pain or recurring health problems to a physical cause.

Common diseases like sciatica, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions may be triggered by human emotions, leading researchers have suggested (File image: man with shoulder pain)

Ms Oldfield told MailOnline: “It made no sense that people would come to me and leave pain free and they would still have a herniated disc, for example.

“Other people who were in pain came with results from medical tests and scans, but nothing could be found.

“When I left the NHS in 2005 I had more time to think about it. I was reading around and talking to colleagues and questioning so much and then in 2007,

“I fell in love with the work of the professor of rehabilitation medicine, Dr. Met John Sarno in New York.

Ms Oldfield (pictured) worked for the NHS for decades before founding SIRPA in 2010

For years she has dealt with patients who could not connect their pain or recurring health problems to a physical cause

“His hypothesis was that chronic pain is a state of the mind and body in which unresolved emotions manifest as pain and other symptoms.

“The work SIRPA teaches continues to evolve as pain science now explains why treating the underlying causes of chronic pain rather than the pain itself is more likely to make the pain go away rather than just manage it.”

At an early stage, it’s important to rule out a physical cause of a person’s pain, including cancer, infection, a fracture, or an autoimmune disease.

When a physical cause of pain has been ruled out, it can be confusing, especially when an illness has appeared out of nowhere and disrupted someone’s daily life.

Ms Oldfield said once the nervous system becomes overly sensitive, it can lead to a variety of problems in the body

However, seemingly random pain is often associated with triggering repressed feelings such as anger, fear, and frustration.

Once these emotions build up and reach a tipping point, they can make the nervous system hypersensitive.

This can then lead to a variety of problems in the body, leading to conditions such as sciatica, migraines, whiplash, fibromyalgia, and tinnitus.

The sufferer who lacks an understanding of current science may feel that their pain is physical and that something is wrong with their tissues, muscles, nerves, or bones.

The sufferer, lacking an understanding of current science, may feel that their pain is physical and that something is wrong in their tissues, muscles, nerves or bones (Image: SIRPA Conference)

To make things even more confusing, they can even be told that they have wear or a herniated disc from a scan and believe that this is the root cause of the problem.

But as researchers contend, this is an outdated and flawed model, with a growing body of evidence suggesting people who aren’t in pain have had scans showing disc, joint and arthritis problems, showing degeneration is just a normal part of aging.

Pain—whether emotional or physical—is ultimately controlled in the same part of the brain.

When the research was in its infancy in 2007, these conclusions were dismissed, but now there is more evidence to support these claims.

Pain – whether emotional or physical – is ultimately controlled in the same part of the brain (pictured: a SIRPA conference)

However, some patients with chronic pain are skeptical, insisting that there is something structurally wrong with them.

To change that attitude, we need to educate ourselves and update our beliefs about what pain is, Ms. Oldfield said.

Large organizations like the International Association for the Study of Pain are beginning to interpret it differently.

For them, pain is not only associated with actual harm, but can also “resemble” it.

Ms Oldfield added: “We help people address false beliefs/myths all the time, which is not easy and can take time.

Back in 2007, when Ms Oldfield’s research was in its infancy, those conclusions were dismissed, but now there’s more evidence to support those claims (pictured: Ms Oldfield on ITV).

“We affect beliefs that people have had for decades. However, we know that mind and body are not separate, and so part of our work encourages people to become more aware of what’s happening inside their bodies.

What may aggravate pain are the six F’s identified by Ms. Oldfield’s US colleague, clinician and researcher, Dr. Howard Schubiner.

according to dr According to Schubiner, chronic pain is often made worse by anxiety, frustration, focusing on the pain, trying to fix it, trying to figure it out, and trying to fight it.

SIRPA researchers (pictured) have found that seemingly random pain is often linked to triggering repressed emotions such as anger, fear and frustration

Ms Oldfield explained: “Evidence shows that fear of pain, even just worrying about it, can make it worse.

“Besides, the more we focus on the pain, the more we fuel it. And if we try to fight it and push it away, it can get worse too.

“Trying to fix it and googling it all the time plus frustration makes it worse. But trying to pinpoint the pain and over-analyzing it can also make it worse.

“I get emails from people saying, ‘I struggle with my pain every day,’ but unfortunately that just creates resistance.

“This is about self-compassion and surrendering to pain, which is difficult for people to understand. However, if you surrender, the pain will stop fighting you as soldiers do when you surrender in war.’

To change that attitude, we need to educate ourselves and update our beliefs about what pain is, Ms. Oldfield said

Managing your chronic pain requires working with the stress response, identifying and addressing any underlying causes, and learning how to reprogram the brain from a state of fear and protection to a state of safety.

Ms Oldfield added: “Looking at a timeline of your life can be helpful in identifying some of the issues, past and present, that may have been challenging for you and that were likely not being acknowledged and addressed at the time.

“Therapy diary can be an effective aid in this.”

However, before she begins working on unresolved emotions, Ms. Oldfield says she would always teach a client calm, connected breathing and ground herself.

Large organizations such as the International Association for the Study of Pain are beginning to interpret it differently (pictured: Catherine Pollitt, Physiotherapist on the SIRPA Membership Board)

This helps the pain victim feel more comfortable acknowledging emotions that have surfaced.

What’s more, recognizing their emotions as they surface can help many feel safe.

For years people have avoided and distracted each other because we learned in early childhood that expressing them is not safe.

So by becoming more emotionally aware, addressing false beliefs and unhelpful behaviors, and diverting our pain away from the learned and sensitized neural circuits, Ms. Oldfield says it is possible to resolve chronic pain.

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https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/chronic-pain-conditions-can-be-triggered-by-human-emotions-research-shows/ Chronic pain conditions can be triggered by human emotions, research shows

Brian Ashcraft

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