Discussing pain perception at an FHT local group

Hereford local group

During our previous meeting, we had a fascinating talk on rethinking pain by Lin Leong, a neurophysiotherapist and yoga teacher, writes Hereford group coordinator Carina Stinchcombe.

Lin gave us an overview of the mechanisms active in persistent pain. As our collective understanding of pain perception develops, it seems that tissue damage, misalignment or degradation are not sufficient explanations in the treatment of persistent pain. Applying the biopsychosocial model to understanding pain, we considered strategies beyond tissue release and remedial action, to support clients with persistent pain.

In practice, it can be confusing for a bodyworker to apply a biopsychosocial model to their treatments. A helpful shift is to emphasise the value of validating a client’s experience, using empowering language and creating a safe environment where a client needs to relearn a pain habit. We can also sometimes help a client to identify factors that may increase pain perception, for instance, fear avoidance, leading to habitual and unhelpful movement strategies, tiredness, loneliness, stressful work conditions, anxiety and depression. Many people won’t have made these connections for themselves, so we can use our own treatments and referral networks to help clients access strategies to help with the reduction of pain.

Because translating this theory into practice is so multifaceted, we couldn’t cover applications in much depth, so we plan to have another session later in the year.

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We hope you enjoyed this article, which was first published in the Summer 2019 issue of International Therapist!

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