When people ask me what it’s like to have chronic pain, I often describe it as being like having a huge, flashing neon sign in your brain with the word PAIN on it. The sign is so big, so glaring, so alarming in how it is flashing that it is almost impossible to focus on anything else. No matter which road I take in the labyrinth of my mind, the pain is still there, flashing away and taking up almost all my brain power. The thing is, pain literally is a warning sign. It’s the way our body communicates danger, the way it lets the brain know there is something wrong. Pain is a signal that tissue has been damaged, and that we must take immediate action to prevent further damage. For example, the sharp sensation of burning tells us to move our hand away from a hot stove. Our body and brain wants us to be unable to ignore pain because it could mean life or death.
But what happens when there is no hot stove to pull away from? What happens when pain signals are screaming at us to take action but there is no clear action to take? Read More