Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

According to Pain Australia, chronic or persistent pain: affects 1.5 billion people worldwide 3.4 million Australians live with chronic pain sufferers often experience depression (37%) and anxiety (25%) drives the opioid epidemic affects more people than heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer Yoga can assist with the management of both acute and chronic pain, and the potential for relief of chronic pain by establishing some regular yogic practices is a subject receiving attention by researchers such as Catherine Bushnell, PhD, and Chantal Villemure. Effective pain care involves more than just managing pain – it’s about providing support and care for the individual when pain persists. While managing pain can be important, there are situations where it’s possible to change the pain experience instead. However, achieving this change is not easy and requires time, persistence, compassion, and courage. Acute pain is a signal that something needs attending to immediately. Long term pain is a complex issue that involves some maladaptation of the brain to perceive and deal with neural input. With chronic pain the body becomes more sensitive to pain signals and interprets minor inputs as threats. Bushnell is scientific director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she oversees a program on the brain’s role in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain. She has found that people experiencing chronic pain show changes in their brain – specifically, a decrease in grey matter and alterations in neural circuitry. These brain changes can result in memory impairment, emotional problems and decreased cognitive functioning. Bushnell says “Practicing yoga has the opposite effect on the brain as does chronic pain. There is a causative link between yoga and grey matter increases.” Bushnell shares her discoveries about how non-drug options can affect the brain and the therefore assist in the management of pain. Bushnell teaches that when we focus on pain it amplifies the pain. She also has found that ‘negative’ emotional states can amplify the pain and ‘positive’ thoughts dampen pain. Our thought processes can dampen or amplify pain.  Her study can be found here. “People may come to yoga to change their pain, but stay to change their lives, which may ultimately change their pain.” Smith, J. (2019). Greg Lehman’s cup analogy [infographic]. https://www.greglehman.ca/blog/2018/5/1/do-our-patients-need-fixing

wendy 9 May 2023