CRPS And Mind-body

CRPS Demystified

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”

– Marie Curie

CRPS has long mystified both clinicians and researchers with its unpredictable and unexplainable behavior. Why do symptoms originate in one place of the body, but then spread to others? Why do symptoms vary so wildly, from what appears to be a severe inflammation to a variety of neurological conditions like dystonia? What is going on in the body on the microbiological level?

As it turns out, the answer can be surprisingly simple, and the key to it is the ever-changing and expanding nature of this illness. Many CRPS patients describe their condition as a gradual collapse: first limbs, then various organs, then the entire body. But considering that the central nervous system is, as the name suggests, central to the functioning of the entire body and every part of it, it is reasonable to suppose that this breakdown on so many levels has much to do with the central nervous system and the brain that controls it. In fact, most CRPS patients acknowledge a prior history of either emotional trauma, or stress, or emotional issues like anxiety, depression or mood swings.

It is widely accepted that chronic pain triggers emotional distress, anxiety and depression. But is the opposite possible? Is it possible that severe emotional distress can trigger those circuits in the brain that are capable of sending pain signals to the body? It is becoming more and more acknowledged by mainstream medicine that stress can cause muscle pain, stomach diseases, dizziness, various hormonal imbalances and other health problems. If that is the case, what is the most effective way to break the pattern of stress and reverse the condition?

CRPS Can Be Reversed

“All truth passes through 3 stages. First it’s ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third, it’s accepted as being self evident.”

– Arthur Schopenhauer

This is where researchers and practitioners alike have been exploring a new frontier. Dr. John Sarno was a pioneer of mind-body pain medicine. A chance discovery led him to the concept of chronic pain being induced by emotional trauma or severe emotional distress. Thousands of grateful patients are both witnesses and a living proof of his hypothesis, you can find their testimonies here: Thank you, Dr. Sarno!.

Since Dr. Sarno started his lonely quest in 1970ies, many physicians and psychologists have joined him. Today, there are hundreds of practitioners who successfully use various mind-body techniques to help chronic pain patients. Gradually, by helping one patient at a time, they are proving that many chronic pain conditions, CRPS included, can be permanently reversed by the methods based on the same concept of psychologically induced pain.

Paradigm Shift

“The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well”.

– Hippocrates

The mind-body method is consistent with the latest discoveries of neuroscience. Multiple clinical studies have shown a positive impact of mind-body techniques like yoga and meditation on CRPS patients. Why not take it one step further and try to heal by using the power of mind-body instead of taking a pill?

So, one may ask, how is this mind-body approach different from CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)? So many patients have been through CBT, but their chronic pain never went away! How is this mind-body approach different from yoga exercises or meditation sessions that your pain doctor may have recommended, in addition to ketamine shots or tramadol?

And here is the answer: while you may be still doing meditation or yoga and focusing on your mental health, like you did before you learned about the mind-body approach, in order to succeed, you need to undergo a paradigm shift. The difference may seem subtle and insignificant, but it changes everything.

We do agree with mainstream doctors that there is no ultimate medicine or treatment for CRPS, but not because we concede that CRPS will stay with you for the rest of your life. Instead, we believe that your recovery must come from within, we want you to become your own healer by re-wiring the pain circuit in your brain. Why do we think it is possible? Because our brains are plastic, because there is a strong empirical evidence that the brain is able to change itself and “unlearn” the pain signal it sends into your body.

Unlike mainstream doctors who tell you that you will never recover from CRPS and just need to learn to cope with it, we believe that you can heal from CRPS.

Unlike mainstream doctors who tell you that mind-body exercises are supporting activities, secondary to the medications and clinical procedures, we believe that these are your primary tools to defeat your pain.

Mainstream doctors tell you that meditation helps you to cope with pain; we encourage you to aim to completely eliminate CRPS by inner work and focus on your emotional health.

Yes, it is possible! We did it, and you can do it, too!

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