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Dr. Zafirides How Training The Brain Reduces Chronic Pain

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Peter Zafirides, May 28, 2012.

  1. Peter Zafirides

    Peter Zafirides Physician

    Hi Everyone,

    I thought this latest piece of news would be of interest to you. It is nice for the research community to be piecing together how our thoughts can literally affect/modify pain.


    It is interesting to speculate if this "brain map" theory may possibly explain how the brain "changes" in response to our thoughts when we are doing the PPD/TMS treatments. The actual biology of TMS has been elusive to even Dr. Sarno over the years. I really believe we are very close to finding out exactly how our thoughts create/affect/modify/stop physical pain.

    Never, ever doubt how truly powerful you are!!

    Be Well,
    Dr. Zafirides
    veronica73 likes this.
  2. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    "Moseley said the brain can “rewire” itself, a process called neuroplasticity. Often painful stimuli triggered by a broken bone or other trauma cause the brain to rewire and, as a result, the damage signal is never switched off after the initial body trauma is resolved. The result: chronic pain."

    This is very interesting to me personally because I know that I shattered my left heel in a climbing accident in 1989/90 (yes it was a New Year's present!) And all of my TMS symptoms, my so-called "herniated disk" in November 2001 and the relapse that resulted in my chronic sciatica in December 2007 were all on the same left side.

    So did I rewire my brain and central nervous system with the catastrophic pain of a broken heel in 1989/90 and then they were triggered and reactivated by the emotional trauma I experienced at the time of my mother's death in January 2001? IOWs: Was the TMS rewiring already in place just waiting for the right combination of traumatic emotional events to occur to make them come back again? Did the original injury predispose me to develop TMS later on. I do remember that when I broke my heel, my parents basically just wrote me off and gave me no support whatsoever. This may have been similar to the feeling of abandonment I experienced when my mother died in January 2001 I suspect.
  3. Max2094

    Max2094 New Member

    Does Moseley actually have a treatment plan that is suggested for patients? Doesn't seem like he recommends anything that resembles a TMS approach to healing with the exception of resuming normal activity.
    Obviously this type of research is critical to unravel what happens with chronic pain but it's disheartening seeing these scientists completely disregard what Sarno discovered and ignore TMS only to come up with new theories that don't have a clear path to healing for people to follow.
    Moseley mentions zero about repressed anger and emotions etc so for me this is just confusing.
  4. Peter Zafirides

    Peter Zafirides Physician


    Please don't get discouraged. The main reason I posted this was for people to appreciate that science is starting to see that our emotions (thoughts) literally affect our physical being.

    I think we will always have resistance to TMS in the medical community. That has never discouraged me. Why? Because I know what I believe and I know what has helped my patients. I have seen it over and over in my career. And physicians must come to terms with the fact that many of the pain "treatments" (especially back surgery) held in such high regard medically, have been - except in rare, emergent situations - worthless.

    That's a lot of humble-pie for doctors to eat and not easy to do. Marginalizing methods like TMS - or totally dismissing them - is a typical defense mechanism. Don't get discouraged. Just keep moving forward in your treatment, Max. Don't ever doubt your strength!

    -Dr. Z
    Forest likes this.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for posting this Dr. Zafirides. As you mentioned, It is always great to notice when science is starting to see that our emotions (thoughts) literally affect our physical being. While the study doesn't offer a treatment approach or mention TMS in any way, it is good to see researchers begin to explore psychosomatic explanations for chronic pain. The more research that is done in this area, the more the medical community will begin to take notice of the TMS/PPD approach.

    But Max, I was think you are right when you have some frustration. When researchers put out a study that shows some mindbody compenent of chronic pain and think they are original, I think, well, just ask any of the millions of people who have recovered fromt the TMS approach and we would have told you everything you needed to know. But then again we can't let the medical community prevent us from doing what we need to recover. It is easy to be distracted about certain things and this is just what our TMS wants, so when I see this research I always just say great, but try not to worry about the blind spot in the medical community.

    I am a little curious how this relates to the learned nerve pathways mechanism that Dr. Schubiner and others mention. It seems at least that Dr. Schubiner points out the need to retrain or unlearn our pain pathways. Any thoughts?
  6. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Hi Peter, many thanks for this article. Good to see that my fellow Aussies are getting to the heart of the matter. I have noticed a mind shift ever since I started reading people like Prof. Candece Pert, Prof. Bruce Lipton, Drs Sarno and Schubiner and a number of other practitioners of 'integrated' mind, body and spiritual sciences. Also ever since I have been in this website on a daily basis, working the TMS program receiving and exchanging posts with a number of its members the psycho-emotional shift went up another level. Cooperation with each other while integrating knowledge and physical practice has no doubt a modifying positive effect in the mind. I think it is Prof. Candece Pert the one that said that if we change our minds, we change our brain and if the brain changes then the mind changes. What a wonderful thing to be mindful of, the fact that we are co-creators of our cognition and therefore our anatomy and physiology. It is a powerful concept to behold every day!

    Best wishes
  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Peter, this article makes me wonder about how 'brain maps' can be altered? I fell out running in 2008 and landed on my left butt and back. No pain at the time. Ran in to my car over a mile and half away. Still, okay. However, within a few days I started getting stings in my sciatic nerve that kept spreading and spreading until they engulfed my whole left hip and lumbar region, followed by totally debilitating back spasms a couple months later. What I have observed over the last years though is that as I expand my activities, riding my bike farther and farther, faster and faster, my range of motion improves and the pain level has gone down. My question: Am I remapping the pain patterns in my brain each time I challenge the TMS pain syndrome and expand my range of activities? It sure seems like a long, slow process, but it does seem to be working. Three or four months ago when I went for a bike ride, my left leg was like a limp, wet noodle. Now, with each progressively harder, longer and faster ride, the leg has gained a fuller range of movement and greater strength too. I have to say that these sort of physical improvements have taken place in parallel with my completing the Structure Program here on the Wiki as well as doing Dr Schubiner's exercises in Unlearned Your Pain. But they also seem to have been taking place slowing, gradually over time after reading Dr. Sarno over three years ago. I might add that I shattered my left heel many years ago in 1989/90, so I suspect the learned pain pathways were already in place long before my fall. I'm certainly grateful that my "brain maps" are changing, but can't really put my finger on any one single factor causing my improvement. It almost seems as if over the past three years that I've gradually "forgotten" the stressors that originally triggered my sciatica and lower lumbar pain. Perhaps, my knowledge of TMS, the mindfulness exercises I've been doing, and the physically challenging exercises all work together to reprogram my "brain maps" and deactivate my conditioned nerve pathways? I sure did notice last night when I went for a road bike ride that both the left and right legs were working more in unison and my left leg and hip had also acquired a much fuller range of motion that translated into more power and speed. I did notice a few more aches and pains in my left hip this morning, but I guess that would be normal since those muscles and tendons have not been working much before now. I might add that when my condition was really bad three years ago, I did go into SOAR in Redwood City and have the 49ers team doctor examine my hip: Dr. Mow said, "Boy there's nothing the matter with your hip. It has the range of a 20 year old. But back pain . . . now that's a different matter . . ."

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