Here at the Chronic Pain Relief Online Clinic we use a Multi-factorial approach to recovery from Chronic Pain.
All our practitioners have spent many years working with clients and have identified that to get the best outcomes for our clients that blending a supportive, practical and educational environment really does mean that recovery is possible using the following:
- A holistic review of 8 Elements to Wellbeing; – Nutrition, Adrenals and Thyroid, Emotional Health, Relationships, Environment, Movement, Life Purpose and Lifestyle and Pace.
- Incorporating a Bio Social Psychophysiological approach provides you with an understanding of the interrelationship between mind and body. The mind really does keep the score of all life’s stressors both the big ‘T’ traumas and little ‘T’ traumas which have resulted in medically unexplained symptoms and chronic pain.
- Discover how your early environment and reaction to environmental stimuli has formed and shaped your personality.
- Trauma and understanding its impact. The causes of CPTSD range from severe neglect to monstrous abuse. If you felt unwanted, rejected, hated/despised for a lengthy part of your childhood, trauma may be deeply ingrained in your mind and body. We are our own worst critic, would you speak to someone the way your speak to yourself internally?
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) – The Adverse Childhood Experiences, or “ACEs,” quiz asks a series of 10 questions about common traumatic experiences that occur in early life. Since higher numbers of ACEs often correlate to challenges later in life, including higher risk of certain health problems, the quiz is intended as an indicator of how likely a person might be to face these challenges. You can find this quiz at the end of this blog post.
Nutrition – You Are What You Eat
Nutrition is a massive part of your journey to recovery. If you have IBS it’s easy to blame all symptoms on that but sometimes there is something else going on, we now know that the gut holds our emotional brain. We often feel things in our gut before it gets to translate to our minds which then interprets it into an uncomfortable feeling or anxiety. When this happens, we are in flight mode, in this mode our bodies close down and we get symptoms of IBS.
Sugar causes havoc with our blood sugar levels which rise sharply and then fall, causing fatigue as it also kicks in the adrenals, and then they stay on! Cutting sugar from your diet will have a bigger impact than you think.
Once you know what foods you are intolerant to you can with the help of our nutritionists have an individualised plan that focuses on what nourishes and sustains you.
Because our bodies are in fight/flight we often find it difficult if not downright impossible to get good quality sleep which then impacts on our feelings of wellbeing, and can in some cases lead to depression. We know how vital it is to get the right sleep and we can teach you tools and techniques to aid restful sleep. Getting your sleep and nutrition right will go a long way on the path to recovery.
The Polyvagal Nerve
A stressful situation — whether something environmental, such as a looming work deadline, or psychological, such as persistent worry about losing a job — can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated physiological changes. A stressful incident can make the heart pound and breathing quicken. Muscles tense and beads of sweat appear.
This combination of reactions to stress is also known as the “fight-or-flight” response because it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations. The carefully orchestrated yet near-instantaneous sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses helps someone to fight the threat off or flee to safety. Unfortunately, the body can also overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening, such as traffic jams, work pressure, and family difficulties. All is not lost! There are numerous ways to calm your central nervous system down, one of these is to engage the polyvagal nerve that sits at the back of the throat and goes up into your brain stem. It can be as easy as relearning how to breathe, that is why we put so much importance on self care, compassion and loving kindness. Using your breath with mindfulness and yoga will help calm your system and resolve those anxious feelings. This is something we teach to all our clients and use ourselves daily.
The first thing we notice with our clients is that they are breathing very shallowly, using just the upper chest. To calm your system and self regulate we can teach you very simple techniques that you can use anywhere and at anytime and in any situation, these are great for times of anxiety, stress and just relaxing yourself before bed.
There has been such a lot online and in the press about mindfulness, I just want to add that being mindful is about being in the moment, it is not about clearing your head of all thoughts, sitting for hours like Buddha waiting for enlightenment, it is about focusing on one thing and doing this well even if it is for one minute. Thoughts come and go just like clouds in the sky, trying to capture a thought is like working with jelly, unless you record it in that moment it is really tricky if not almost impossible to recall it in accurate detail. Thoughts are just thoughts, they come, and they go – just acknowledge by saying ‘good noticing’ and let them go. It takes practice but the first stage is recognising, accepting and letting go. Mindfulness is about enjoying the journey and not worrying about the destination.
For me this was my biggest challenge in my recovery, I just didn’t recognise who I was anymore – we are all a sum of our parts but putting the jigsaw together can be challenging.
First we have to understand how our beliefs have shaped our life, how values compromised have caused us pain and to make unwise decisions, that is why we take a lot of time working through fears, anxieties, identity, self concept, self esteem, character, capabilities, feelings and motivations, self knowledge, self understanding and gaining a greater sense of self and one’s own capabilities. We also include resilience which gives you the insight to make the changes necessary to lead a more fulfilled life. We advocate at minimum of 10 hours of 1-1 sessions for clients, this enables trust to be built, and also means that as your support we can build a toolbox of tools and techniques that you will be able to take forward on your wellbeing journey, see our packages of care for more details.
Values and Beliefs
Once we know what our values are we can clearly see how when values are compromised we feel uncomfortable, situations feel wrong, people make us feel challenged. If we use our values as part of our decision-making process, life flows more easily, we are less likely to take the wrong path in life.
Our beliefs are usually messages that we have picked up through life, or from early childhood where we are influenced to believe certain things. Beliefs are other people’s opinions that we have taken to heart, they are not necessarily who we are. Of course, some beliefs are necessary to keep us safe. But, how often do you question your beliefs? We take our clients through a values and beliefs exercise. The ‘Value of Values’ which incorporates an online survey to get your top 20 values and a beliefs exercise – You are what you believe or are you? At the end of these exercises you will have a greater understanding of self and understand better your individual characteristics that make up who you are.
- Bessel Van de Kolk – The Body Keeps the Score
- Dr Sarno – The Mind Body Prescription
- Elaine N. Aron PHD – The Highly Sensitive Person
- Pete Walker – Complex PTSD – From Surviving to Thriving – Recovery Childhood
- Donna Jackson Nakazawa – Childhood Disrupted
If anything in this blog resonates with you then please do get in touch by booking your free 30-minute Discovery call here.