By Dr Tasha Stanton.
Chronic pain, or pain that sticks around for longer than three months, affects one in five Australians.
We have all experienced pain. Think of the last time you stubbed your toe, got a paper cut, or burned yourself on the oven.
It is certainly not fun, but it usually goes away quite quickly.
Imagine though, what it would be like to have pain that does not go away and is there every single day — that is chronic pain.
Myth 1: Pain is all in your head
Every experience you have — touch, warmth, itch, pain — is created by the brain and thus is all in your head, but it does not mean they are not real.
Similarly, pain is a real experience that represents your brain being in protective mode and making an executive decision that your body is under threat.
If there are sufficient signals of danger present, then the output of pain is produced.
Things like fear, anxiety, or depression can increase pain levels and can increase the chance of persistent pain.
But often, these feelings only develop after a person already has chronic pain.
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Myth 2: Medications are the only treatment that will help you
There are many ways to treat pain without getting out the pill packet.
A quirky new discovery is that pain can be reduced, just by looking at visual illusions.
Visual illusion to reduce pain.
Our brain combines information about our body from lots of sources, such as touch, vision, movement and sound.