Chronic (Persistent) Pain Control
You can imagine that the brain contains something like an old-fashioned telephone switchboard operator (from old movies). Sensory and pain messages are sent, via nerve fibres which run up the spinal cord, and the switchboard operator controls which messages are put through to the brain.
There are different grades of messages:-
(also called persistent pain)
Messages are transmitted via C-fibres. Some of the pain sensations associated with these messages are: throbbing, aching, burning, cold, soreness, itching, tingling and numbness. The sensations are generally spread out, not as specific as acute pain. This type of pain occurs some time after an injury.
Messages are transmitted via A-fibres. These messages travel much quicker than C-fibres. The pain felt is sharp and specific. It’s the pain felt right after an injury. A-fibre messages take precedence.
For example: if you were to burn your hand on a saucepan, that message would be put straight through to the brain and at that moment, you wouldn’t feel your neck and shoulder pain. This is advantageous to survival and adaptive because it allows you to respond to a pain that needs immediate attention, ie letting go of the hot saucepan.
The fastest messages are transmitted via Special A-fibres and these take precedence over everything else. These are sensations of pressure, touch and vibration, which is why rubbing or massaging an area is a temporary pain relief. It’s a competing counter-stimulation.
Neurological Pain or Neuralgia
There is one other type of message, but this ones comes from the brain to activate muscles, causing muscle spasms, which can worsen pain. Again this is advantageous to survival and adaptive because it causes muscles around an injured area to brace and guard, to support and protect it. The problem is when the muscles continue to brace and guard for long periods it becomes habitual. This tends to cause muscle spasm and more pain.
Hypnosis can give you the ability to gain control over the switchboard that controls your pain sensations. You can learn specific skills which enable you to choose which pain messages you allow through to the brain.