Pain Relief the LOA Way
We’re familiar with the placebo effect, right? That’s where we believe something is good for us – and it becomes so.
People get better after taking sugar pills, or having ‘fake’ surgery (incision and sutures only).
It’s real and it’s well-documented, to the point where the placebo effect is allowed for in modern scientific research such as drug trials.
Our minds can make physiological changes to our bodies based solely on what we believe. Which is great news for those of us who wish to use mind-body healing!
But do you know about the nocebo effect?
It’s been called placebo’s evil twin, and it’s the ‘dark side’ of this phenomenon.
The nocebo effect occurs when someone tells us something that is counter to healing, and we believe it.
It might be a doctor who unwittingly says “this treatment doesn’t always work…” and that statement gets locked in our minds as “it won’t work FOR ME”.
Or it might be a news story that women at a certain age are thought to have a greater risk of…. well, you get the drift.
How can we use this knowledge to increase healing and reduce pain? As we know, our brain makes a decision to give us the pain experience based on its assessment of risk. Reducing that sense of risk is a good place to start in retraining our brain. And that means reducing our exposure to the nocebo effect.
Here are my top five tips to support healing in the face of physical pain:
1. Stop googling your symptoms! Seriously, stop it right now. There is nothing out there that will reduce your brain’s sense of danger. You already know everything you need to know about your injury or condition…. and probably more!
2. No more TV or radio news. At all. If you need to know something, it will find its way to you. Broadcast media makes its money by having a large audience; and humans LOVE a sensational story full of danger and adventure. Sadly this means most mainstream media only tells the stories that increase the brain’s risk alert systems. So let it go. You don’t need it.
3. Manage your interactions with well-meaning family and friends. Support is wonderful, and that’s what you want more of. You don’t need excessive sympathy (you poor, poor helpless victim) or anyone else’s drama queen energy (OMG look what they did to you….). Get comfortable with saying “I don’t want to talk about that right now”.
4. Manage your interactions with health practitioners. This is YOUR body. Set an intention before every encounter that the meeting will go well; that they will listen and respect your perspective; that you will be happy with the outcome. If you feel your practitioner is not supporting you in the right way, set an intention that the perfect person will come to you easily. NB: I do NOT advocate simply stopping any health treatment you are receiving, or leaving your doctor!
5. Get picky about any support group you join. There are some great support groups around which focus on the positive – sharing good news stories of healing and recovery, sharing ideas about techniques or tools that have worked for them. And there are some which seem full of doom and gloom. Choose one that makes you feel hopeful and optimistic about your situation, and that also allows you to vent and seek support when you need it.
It’s estimated one quarter of adults in the West suffer from persistent or chronic pain; and a significant proportion of those are in pain from an injury which should have healed long ago. Is this you, or someone you love? Janette Dalgliesh is the Sweet Relief Coach, and alumnus of Good Vibe Coach Academy. Having gone through two life-changing injuries, Janette is passionate about supporting those who are struggling with injury recovery and persistent pain, blending the latest thinking in neuroscience with ancient mind-body wisdom. Find her Relief Manifesto at http://sweetreliefcoaching.com/manifesto/.