At Rolfing Vermont, we often use a comprehensive approach to pain management that often incorporates both Rolfing and Narrative Medicine.
Pain is a complex phenomenon. It is also a deeply personal experience; often difficult to describe and therefore difficult to assess.
There are many factors that go into how and when you feel pain or discomfort. These can include the nature of a specific injury, but also stress, sleep, past experiences, your genetic and hormonal makeup, as well as the resilience/adaptability tools your parents nurtured in you.
Similarly, pain management is also a complex process. The neuromatrix/gate control theory of pain (https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/pain4.htm and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuromatrix) can give you a good idea of what factors I look when clients seek me out to help resolve their issues of discomfort. Also important is when an injury took place (https://www.advancedtissue.com/miracle-of-you-how-the-body-heals-itself-after-surgery/ https://physioworks.com.au/treatments-1/what-are-the-phases-of-a-soft-tissue-injury ). While tissue heals relatively quickly, the experience can create fear avoidance, which can lead to persistent pain. Here is an illustration of what fear avoidance can look like:
Narrative medicine is a broad term that can encompass many things, including novel manual input to decrease the pain avoidance loop, and increase safety in your nervous system. But also narrative medicine means radically listen to your whole beingâ€”not only your story, but the specific words you use to tell your story, as well as your subconscious actions and movements that provide clues to what enables you to stay safe and protected while working, living, having fun in the world.
“We learn about the world through stories from family. These stories teach us how to orient ourselves, what to perceive, teach us values, and what to expect from the world. This set of expectations that guides our behavior is called beliefs. A belief is simultaneously biological, hormonal, perceptual, psychological, and sociological.” ~Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Neuroplasticity (the theory that the brain can learn, relearn, and change) is being shown effective every day. But for the brain to re-learn, especially after injury and fear avoidance, takes time, repetition, and patience.
Narrative medicine (both manual input and storytelling) can provide real pain management. Not only increase your resilience and adaptability, decrease the sensations of pain and discomfort, but also provide you with the tools toward healing yourself.