You have chronic pain. Some of your chronic pain has been learned through neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is defined as the ability of the brain to form and reorganize its connections. This is similar to the concept of muscle memory.
Consider a child learning to throw a ball. The first throw is awkward. At first the child needs reminders. The coach says “Keep your elbow up” and “aim at the target”. But soon the child is able to keep her elbow up and throw at the target without any reminders from the coach. Her muscle memory is really in the brain.
Just like the child’s brain writes new patterns to throw, chronic pain writes new patterns in the brain. This therapy program helps your brain learn new healthy patterns, and over time change your brain.
The majority of our clients are dealing with some sort of chronic pain so our team has put together a 4 part guide to dealing with, and perhaps, curing this pain.
The first and perhaps simplest adjustment you can make when dealing with chronic pain is studying your sleep hygiene.
“Good sleep has functional and structural effects in the brain”. Sleep is important in learning, and neuroplasticity. Sleep Hygiene is defined as “habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis.” Good sleep affects your ability to handle pain and stress.
12 Keys to Great Sleep
★ Have a set sleep/wake time; do not vary on the weekends.
★ Avoid naps, especially if there is difficulty falling asleep at night. If you must, only 30 minutes
★ Don’t force sleep- if unable to fall asleep, leave the room and sit in the dark or read a book. NO SCREEN TIME!!
★ Reserve the bed for sleep and sex
★ No caffeine after 2pm, avoid alcohol within 3 hours of sleep, avoid smoking, especially at night
★ Avoid heavy meals before bed.
★ Exercise is good for sleep, but not within 3-4 hours of bedtime
★ Minimize light, noise, and excessive temperatures
★ Hide the clock for clock-watchers, may cause anxiety
★ 15 minutes of morning sun helps regulate melatonin and circadian rhythm
★ Have a relaxing bedtime routine, avoid screen time 90 minutes before bed.
★ A hot shower one hour before bed
Please check back later this week for our second installment “Stress Management”