How do you retrain chronic nervous system pain?

Photo of clouds illustrates how Dr. John Sarno’s mind-body approach can retrain and dissipate chronic nervous system pain.

If you're one of the millions of people living with chronic nervous system pain, you know just how debilitating it can be.

Whether you're dealing with neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, or another type of chronic pain, it can impact nearly every aspect of your life, from your ability to work and exercise to your overall quality of life.

The good news is that there are ways to retrain your nervous system and reduce or even eliminate chronic pain.

Stress reduction

According to a study published in the journal “Pain Medicine” in 2016, mindfulness-based stress reduction was effective in reducing pain and improving quality of life in people with chronic pain.

Another study published in the journal “Pain” in 2017 found that regular exercise was effective in reducing pain levels and improving physical function in patients with fibromyalgia.

There are a variety of approaches you can take to retrain chronic nervous system pain, and each one may work differently for different individuals. By adopting a holistic and multifaceted approach, you can increase your chances of successfully reducing or eliminating chronic pain.

Reframe thoughts and emotions

Another approach that may be helpful is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This can help you reframe your thoughts and emotions about pain, allowing you to develop a more positive attitude toward pain management.

A study published in the “Journal of Pain” in 2017 found that CBT can reduce chronic pain intensity and improve physical functioning.

Physical therapy and exercise can also be effective in retraining chronic nervous system pain. By strengthening your muscles and improving your range of motion, you can reduce pain and improve your overall physical health.

A study published in the “Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation” in 2016 found that exercise can be effective in reducing chronic pain in patients with spinal cord injuries.

Variety of other therapies

In addition to these approaches, there are a variety of other therapies that may be helpful, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and mind-body techniques.

A study published in the “Journal of Pain” in 2018 reported that the brain's default mode network, which is responsible for self-referential thinking, is also involved in pain perception.

This means that when you experience chronic pain, your brain may become stuck in a loop of negative thoughts and emotions related to the pain, which can actually make the pain feel worse.

Reduce chronic pain

Research has shown that retraining your nervous system can help reduce chronic pain. One effective method is through neuroplasticity, which is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections.

By using specific exercises and techniques, you can strengthen neural pathways that promote pain relief and reduce the ones that perpetuate pain.

One technique that has shown promise is mindfulness meditation. A study published in the “Journal of Neuroscience” in 2016 found mindfulness meditation can reduce pain intensity by up to 40%.

By focusing on the present moment and observing your thoughts and emotions without judgment, you can train your brain to respond to pain in a more positive way.

Different approaches

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to retraining chronic nervous system pain. You may need to experiment with different approaches to find the ones that work best for you.

It is important to note that retraining your nervous system and reducing chronic pain is not a quick fix. It takes time, effort, and consistency to see results. However, the benefits can be significant and long-lasting.

It is also important to work closely with a healthcare professional who specializes in chronic pain management to determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs.