We’re thrilled to be launching a new, research-backed treatment approach for persistent pain (chronic). Senior Physiotherapist & Chronic Pain Specialist, Irralee Andrzejowska, has undergone 51 hours of CPD training with the Stress Illness Recovery Practitioners Association (SIRPA). She is now qualified to offer the Mind-Body Treatment Approach for helping to resolve persistent pain.
After feeling frustrated with the biomedical approach to pain, Irralee explored this evidence-based approach and the workings of Dr John E. Sarno. She was even more driven to share her findings when she used the techniques to resolve her own Raynaud’s disease and long-sightedness.
What Is Mind-Body Treatment?
Irralee’s new Mind-Body Treatment approach involves her working with the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which we know intricately links the physical and the psychological.
With this treatment approach, we don’t treat the site of the pain directly. Instead, we look at how the mind could be the source – however, that’s not to say that the pain felt is not real!
Research has found that pain can be emotion or stress-induced. When we are stressed, our body activates the sympathetic nervous system as part of its survival response. Our body doesn’t know if it is running away from a sabre-toothed tiger or has had a stressful day at the office: it just knows there is a perceived threat.
In response to the threat, the body fires cortisol, increases tension and releases adrenaline to ensure the body is ready to fight, flight or freeze.
Ideally, the threat will pass and the body will return to a state of rest, digest and repair. However, if homeostasis isn’t restored, the stress becomes chronic. The body will continuously respond to the threat with cortisol, tension and adrenaline.
Symptoms of persistent cortisol release include:
- Reduced pain threshold
- Lowered immune system
There are various sources of stress that cause a danger response in the body. It could be personal trauma, childhood experiences, self-induced stress, over-stimulation or lack of self-care.
Rooted In Research
Our Mind-Body offering is rooted in research and backed by neuroscience, which adheres to our professional code of practising evidence-based treatments here at White House Clinic.
One randomised study of 50 pain sufferers found that after 8 sessions in 4 weeks, 66% were pain free or nearly pain free after treatment.
How the Mind-Body Treatment Approach Works
Irralee’s treatment approach aims to restore a sense of safety to the body’s nervous system. She uses techniques to turn off the pain alarm and address the root cause of the chronic pain, rather than just offering coping strategies as with CBT and ACT.
These techniques include:
- Identifying stress
- Reducing fear
- Changing subconscious beliefs
- Rewiring conditioned pain neural pathways
- Teaching techniques to rewire the ANS back to safety
- Developing emotional awareness and expression strategies
- Restoring natural movement without fear
- Addressing self-care and work-life balance
She will learn about the timeline of your symptoms, which may help her to determine a stressful life event or a trigger. She will also ask questions about other sources of stress from childhood, trauma, PTSD, personality traits and current responsibilities.
Chronic pain is a complex puzzle and you may believe it is something that you have to learn to live with. However, full recovery is possible with a mind-body diagnosis.
With an open mind, this approach could be the solution to your long-term pain.
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