Course Notes: Explain Pain

A Whirlwind I finally had the opportunity to meet my personal Jesus, David Butler, and learn the way that he explains the pain experience to patients. It was an interesting weekend to say the least. The course started off with a smash…literally. We had the unfortunate experience of someone breaking into our car to start the trip off. Then once we arrived to the course, we were informed that Dave was going to be 2 hours late. He was staying in Philly (where I also experienced flight troubles last week) and a snowstorm with a name no one cares about stopped his flight. So Dave drives all the way from Philadelphia, “tilting his head back to rest” for 1 hour, and then what happens? He, along with the other instructors, drive to the wrong campus. So after all these crazy things happen, Dave finally makes it to the course, sets up his presentation, plays a little Bob Marley, and……………… Kills it. I mean, absolutely kills it. To see Dave present this topic under the above circumstances and be on the entire time is a testament to the type of speaker and professional he is. David Butler is one of, if not the best speaker I have ever heard. So I’d like to thank you, Dave, for making an otherwise stressful weekend memorable and exciting. I look forward to applying what I have learned. If you haven’t taken a course from the NOI Group, please do so yesterday! So what did

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The Year of the Nervous System: 2014 Preview

It’s All Part of the Plan And if you see my course schedule this year, the plan is indeed horrifying. I wanted to write a post today to somewhat compose my thoughts and plans for this year, as well as what I am hoping to achieve from the below listed courses. Because of the course load and some of my goals for the year, I am not sure what my blogging frequency will look like. I have begun to pick up some extra work so I am able to attend as much con ed as I do. The Amazon affiliate links that I don’t get money for because I live in Illinois simply cannot pay for classes :). I am just putting these links up here because I want to encourage you to read these books on your own. Use my site as a guide through them. Big Goals My biggest goal for this year is to successfully become Postural Restoration Certified (PRC), and my course schedule below supports this goal. The amount that I use this material and the successes that have come along with it simply compel me to become a PRI Jedi. I see the PRC as a means to achieving this goal. The application thus far has been quite time-consuming. There are a total of 3 case studies, 5 journal article reviews, and tons of other writing that has to be done. Couple that with studying the material, and I have had a very busy year.

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The Post Wonderful Time of the Year: Top Posts of 2013

The Best…Around Time is fun when you are having flies. It seems like just yesterday that I started up this blog, and I am excited and humbled by the response I have gotten. Hearing praise from my audience keeps me hungry to learn and educate more. I am always curious to see which pages you enjoyed, and which were not so enjoyable; as it helps me tailor my writing a little bit more. And I’d have to say, I have a bunch of readers who like the nervous system 🙂 I am not sure what the next year will bring in terms of content, as I think the first year anyone starts a blog it is more about the writing process and finding your voice. Regardless of what is written, I hope to spread information that I think will benefit those of you who read my stuff. The more I can help you, the better off all our patients and clients will be. So without further ado, let’s review which posts were the top dogs for this year (and some of my favorite pics of course). 10.  Lessons from a Student: The Interaction This was probably one of my favorite posts to write this year, as I think this area is sooooooo under-discussed. Expect to be hearing more on patient interaction from me in the future. 9) Clinical Neurodynamics Chapter 1: General Neurodynamics Shacklock was an excellent technical read. In this post we lay out some nervous system basics, and

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Lessons from a Student: The Brain

Oh It’s On Believe it or not, I currently have someone interning with me for the next 12 weeks which is has led me to thinking about many things: 1)      People trust me with the youth of America? 2)      I have to justify what I am doing now? 3)      I hope I can teach her something. It has been a great and even nostalgic experience thus far. I remember just a couple years ago being in this young lady’s shoes having the same successes, failures, and questions she has now. I think working with me may have been quite a difference from the scholastic framework that she was accustomed to. This difference is because our common theme for the week was wait for it…………………………………….The Brain. Most schools, especially in the orthopedic realm, teach about developing physical therapy diagnoses and treating various pathologies. However, we had a couple different cases in which we didn’t necessarily nail down a pathology yet got fantastic results. Case 1 The first patient we saw was a lovely middle-aged woman who was classic for the biopsychoscial treatment model I espouse. She comes into seeing us with chronic low back pain over the past 3 years, has had several TIAs, been diagnosed with an eating disorder, and generally lives a stressful life.  Our comparable sign for the day was flexion which was at 50% range and painful (or DP for you functional movement folks out there). We discuss what we think is going on and the first

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Explain Pain Section 6: Management Essentials

This is a summary of section 6 of “Explain Pain” by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. Management 101 The most important thing you can understand is that no one has the answer for all pains. Pain is entirely individualistic, hence requiring different answers. There are several strategies which one can undertake to triumph over pain. Tool 1: Education Knowing how pain works is one of the most important components to overcoming pain. Instead of no pain, no gain, the authors like to use “know pain, or no gain.” Understanding pain is essential for squashing fear of pain, which leads best toward the road to recovery. Here are some important concepts to be known about explaining pain. Anyone can understand pain physiology. Learning about pain physiology reduces pain’s threat value. Combining pain education with movement approaches will increase physical capacity, reduce pain, and improve quality of life. Tool 2: Hurt ≠ Harm It is important to understand that when someone feels pain it does not equate with damage. The same can be said with recurring pains. These pain types are often ways to prevent you from making the same mistake twice. If your brain sees similar cues that were present with a previous injury, the brain may make you experience pain as a way to check on you and make sure you are okay. Just because hurt does not mean harm does not mean you can get crazy though. Because the nervous system is trying to protect you, it will take

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Explain Pain Section 5: Modern Management Models

This is a summary of section 5 of “Explain Pain” by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. So Many Clinicians There are several people who would like to help someone in pain, with each person offering a different explanation and solution for someone’s pain. Research has shown these conflicting explanations can often make things worse. The one who has the most power over pain is the person who is in pain. Here are some general guidelines for someone dealing with pain. Make sure any injury or disease which requires immediate medical attention is dealt with. All ongoing pain states require a medical examination. Make sure any prescribed help makes sense and adds to your understanding of the problem. Get all your questions answered. Avoid total dependence on any practitioner. Make sure your goals are understood by you and the clinician. The clinician’s ultimate job is to assist you in mastering your situation. Models of Engagement There are 5 interchangeable models which enable both the patient and the clinician to identify the processes underlying pain. The orchestra model – Pain is a multi-component process that manifests itself in the brain and goes through many pathways. There are many players involved in the pain experience, hence the orchestra, with the brain as the maestro. The Onion Skin Model – Helps describe all the factors that go into the pain experience; including nociception, attitudes and beliefs, suffering, pain escape behaviors, and social environment. Fear-based models – Fear of pain and reinjury are major forces

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Explain Pain Section 4: Altered Central Nervous System Alarms

This is a summary of section 4 of “Explain Pain” by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. CNS Alarms While much of talk in rehab deals with tissue injury and tissue pain, realize that the brain always makes the final decision as to whether or not you should feel pain. No brain, no pain. This sentiment does not mean that pain is not real. All pain is real. However, pain is a construct that the brain creates in order to ensure your survival. Spinal Cord Alarms When an injury occurs and the DRG receives impulses from peripheral structures or the brain, the spinal cord neurons must adapt to better uptake all these signals. In essence, the DRG becomes better at sending danger messages up to the brain. This change leads to short term increases in sensitivity to excitatory chemicals. Those stimuli that didn’t hurt before now do (allodynia) and those that used to hurt now hurt more (hyperalgesia). In persistent pain, this change continues occurring to the point where neurons that do not carry danger messages start growing into space where danger messages are taking place. Now innocuous stimuli such as grazing the skin begin hurting. The pain may be normal, but the underlying processes become abnormal. When these spinal cord alarm systems become unhealthy, the brain no longer receives an accurate message of what is going on. The alarms become magnified and distorted.  The brain is told there is more damage in the tissues than is actually present. What is good is

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Explain Pain Section 3: The Damaged and Deconditioned Body

This is a summary of section 2 of “Explain Pain” by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. Tissue Injury 101 When a body is damaged, pain is often the best guide to promote optimal healing. Sometimes it is good for us to rest, other times it is better to move. A similar healing process occurs for all tissue injuries. First, inflammation floods the injured area with immune and rebuilding cells. This reason is why inflammation is a good thing in early injury stages. A scar forms once the inflammatory process is over. The tissue then remodels to attempt to become as good as the original. Blood supply and tissue requirements determine how fast the healing process occurs. For example, ligaments heal much slower than skin because the former has a lower blood supply than the latter. This may also be a reason why aerobic exercise may speed up the healing process. If present, pain usually diminishes as the tissues heal. However, pain may persist if the nervous system still feels under threat. Acid and Inflammation The alarm sensors described here constantly work and often get us to move. Movement keeps our system flushed. When we don’t move or a physical obstruction is present (e.g. sitting), acid and by-products build up in the body tissues. Oftentimes we will start to feel aches and pains when we stay in a prolonged position, which is our body’s way of saying “get up and move.” Much like the alarm system, inflammation is a primitive way for our

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Explain Pain Section 2: The Alarm System

This is a summary of section 2 of “Explain Pain” by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley. Alarm Signals Our body’s alarm system alerts us to danger or potential danger. This alarm system is composed of sensors throughout the body, the eyes, nose, and ears. It is these sensors that are our first line of defense against harm. If one sensor fails the others take over. Most of these sensors are located in the brain and respond to various stimuli. Some to mechanical movement, some to temperature change; the sensors in the brain particularly respond to chemical activity. What is important to know with sensors is that they have a very short life expectancy of a few days. This cycling means our body’s sensitivity is constantly changing. It is with these life cycles that there is hope for those with chronic pain. Moreover, the rate at which sensors are made is normally stable but can change very quickly in regards to a particular stimulus. So if we take for example one with persistent pain, the rate at which pain sensitivity occurs can be changed. Nociception We lack pain receptors in our bodies. Instead, the various tissues have special neurons that respond to different stimuli. These receptors are called nociceptors, which translates into “danger receptors.” Nociception is occurring all the time, but only sometimes will it end in pain. Nociception is neither necessary nor sufficient for pain. The sensors correspond to particular neurons. In order for these neurons to become excited and

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