In the past we have been taught many different ways to help pain caused by an injury, maybe ice, rest, pain killers, stretching, to name a few. But how the brain detects what is happening in the body and as a result spits out a “I am hurting” message is becoming more and more realised.
In a recent study into tendon injuries, it has been shown that you can change the part of the brain that feels sensation by doing different types of exercises.
Tendons attach muscle to bone. The most common injuries are in the Achilles at the ankle, the patella tendon at the knee, the gluteus medius tendon at the side of the hip, the hamstring tendon deep in your buttock and “tennis elbow” which is the tendon on the outside of the elbow. Doing an exercise that contracts the muscle that pulls on the tendon, in a safe posture for the tendon, and holding as strong a contraction as possible with only slight discomfort, could change how the brain feels pain. Changes on the cortex of the brain meant that people doing this type of exercise at a certain repetition (4x45secs), three to four times a day could decrease pain caused by the tendon. In a way doing the exercise you could say, way similar to taking a pain killer!
Increasingly the brain is becoming more and more into the centre of attention with pain. In the case of more chronic, long term pain, there are many areas of the brain that light up when we feel pain that would not normally. This includes areas for emotion and stress. Suddenly, when we start to have a bad emotional or stressful time this can cause us pain. Likewise it is thought that maybe if we have good emotion and low stress thoughts , this could maybe improve pain. Below is an article from the Weekend Australian Magazine that I hope starts to let people be aware that there is an awful lot out there that we still don’t understand, but never give up on the power of the brain, and how our thoughts can improve us to become all the better, even in the case of pain.
Physiologix is based upstairs at the Gap Health and Racquet Club. Call us on (07) 3511 1112 or email us from the website at physiologic.com.au