The central purpose of The Pain Project is to improve people’s lives by providing information about the biological and psychosocial aspects of pain.
The Pain Project is about understanding what chronic pain is, how it works and what can be done about it. We talk about effective, science-based strategies to improve the lives of people suffering from pain.
Why does it matter?
People with long-standing pain are often frustrated, angry and even sad. Many find it challenging to express how they feel and what they need. When tension and frustration increase, physiologic changes in the brain occur that exacerbate pain. Understanding where chronic pain comes from is the start to treating it.
The Cycle of Pain
Everyone should have equal access to effective care that treats the entire physical, emotional, and social aspects of pain.
It’s about asking the question, "Why do individuals experience and respond to pain differently?" The answer starts with understanding how the body and the brain sense, interpret and react to pain in its many formats. We all experience varying degrees of physical and emotional pain, but the main determinant of how we do long-term has to do with our attitudes, approaches, and resiliency.
Recent medical research provides an understanding of how the brain and nervous system work while processing traumatic and painful events.1 This understanding has led to new insights as to how to move from negative feelings of "fear and helplessness" to a positive state of "wellness".
Understanding the emotional connection to pain
The Pain Project is about helping people better understand their persistent pain, to take back control of their lives.
The vast majority of traditional pain management programs are rooted solely in the physical model of injury that assumes a direct correlation between the degree of physical injury and the amount of pain. The greater the pain, the more tissue damage must have occurred. This mechanistic theory has led us to our current interventional approach towards pain that often exposes patients to hazardous and expensive tests, medications and procedures—and has shown very limited success.
The Pain Project does not abandon the physical. Rather it more fully integrates the emotional and social realms and puts into action all of the benefits of new science and technology, combining them with ancient wisdoms that are as true today as ever.
Integrated Chronic Pain Treatment
When the brain perceives trauma it initiates a biological response that is automatic called the fight or flight response. This response is hardwired into our nervous system to protect us. In chronic pain it can be encoded as a traumatic memory in the brain that keeps the brain recycling as though the injury is continually being experienced, thereby making us experience the chronicity of the pain.
- Scaer, Robert, Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, (2001) 26(1), 73-91.