Explain Pain: 10 Key Concepts

Here are the 10 key concepts from Explain Pain Supercharged extracted by Lorimer Moseley and David Butler. Explain pain is a life changing book for those of us helping people in pain and I highly recommend it.

1. Pain is normal, personal and always real:

All pain experiences are normal and are an excellent, though unpleasant response to what your brain judges to be a threatening situation. All pain is real.

2. There are danger sensors, not pain sensors:

The danger alarm system is just that there are no pain sensors, pain pathways or pain endings.

3. Pain and tissue damage rarely relate:

Pain is an unreliable indicator of the presence or extent of tissue damage – either can exist without the other.

4. Pain depends on the balance of danger and safety:

You will have pain when your brain concludes that there is more credible evidence of danger than safety related to your body and thus infers the need to protect.

5. Pain involves distributed brain activity:

There is no single ‘pain centre’ in the brain. Pain is a conscious experience that necessarily involves many brain areas across time.

6. Pain relies on context:

Pain can be influenced by the things you see, hear, smell, taste and touch, things you say, things you think and believe, things you do, places you go, people in your life and things happening in your body.

7. Pain is one of many protective outputs:

When threatened the body is capable of activating multiple protective systems including immune, endocrine, motor, autonomic, respiratory, cognitive, emotional and pain. Any or all of these systems can become overprotective.

8. We are bioplastic:

While all protective systems can become turned up and edgy, the notion of bioplasticity suggests that they can change back, through the lifespan. It is biologically implausible to suggest that pain can’t change.

9. Learning about pain can help the individual and society:

Learning about pain is therapy. When you understand why you hurt, you hurt less. If you have a pain problem, you are not alone – millions of others do too. But there are many researchers and clinicians working to find ways to help

10. Active treatment strategies promote recovery:

Once you understand pain, you can begin to make plans, explore different ways to move, improve your fitness, eat better, sleep better, demolish DIMs, find SIMs and gradually do more.

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