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Archive for March, 2014

It’s like having a monkey on your back; sometimes it’s a small monkey, sometimes it’s a large monkey…sometimes it’s just huge. It can put you on the sidelines for days or weeks at a time. Most of the time you are able to do the things you need and want to do but it doesn’t feel good…it doesn’t feel right; it’s not normal. Chronic pain is a complicated interaction of physical, mental and emotional factors. The most recent and promising theories for chronic pain as well as many other chronic disorders involves the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

How does the ANS affect your pain/symptoms?? The ANS controls numerous parts of your body automatically and without your conscious effort. Things like digestion, respiration, circulation, and heart rate. It has a significant influence on your immune, endocrine, muscular, and nervous systems. It is run automatically and is primarily directed by the primitive parts of your brain, especially the brain stem. A crucial role of this primitive or instinctive brain is protection. It does that through protective reflexes aimed at quickly altering body systems in order to respond to danger. When a dog runs out snarling and barking at you unexpectedly, you startle and prepare for action – this is an example of your Autonomic Nervous System at work. It has two components; the sympathetic, which ramps you up for danger, and the parasympathetic, which calms you down balancing the stimulation of the sympathetic.

Unfortunately in our modern world we have too many stressors, or sympathetic activation, and too many of those stressors where we don’t complete the act of “fight or flight”. When a car cuts you off, when your boss yells at you, when you’re frustrated because you’re in a job you don’t like – all these activate your fight or flight response causing chemical and physiological changes in your body. When we don’t complete the act of fight or flight, those stressors get trapped in our body. Add to that real dangers such as a car accident, trauma, surgery, etc. and you can see how your nervous system becomes one-sided, operating primarily out of the sympathetic mode.

You can think of your chronic condition as a wild fire burning out of control, doing what it likes, when it likes. New, gentle, non-invasive therapies based on cutting edge science have been developed over the past several years and continue to evolve and improve. Westman Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center is pleased to be able to offer several of these new therapies and add these unique “weapons” in the fight against chronic pain. These treatment techniques begin to pour water onto the fire and combine both in-clinic and at-home techniques.

It all works together to recondition your brain in how threatening it perceives your environment to be. When the brain consistently receives information that is telling it there is no danger it will lower it’s threat response and gradually establish a new, more normal level to exist at allowing you to be more relaxed, less tense in your muscles, less “on guard”, less “wound up” mentally, and emotionally more “even keeled”… in other words, nearer to homeostasis, balance, wellness.  You do not have to live the rest of your life the way you are.

Our therapists will be happy to answer any questions you may have about this information and can assist you in determining whether you are a good candidate for this type of therapy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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