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Lower Back Pain - The 7 Essential Steps To Recovery

Feb 23, 2008
What's the most common form of chronic pain on the planet? Lower back pain! And many people suffer from it for years, with no respite no matter what treatment they try.

It's those long-term sufferers who have the most to gain from reading this article.


Chronic pain is pain that is experienced over a long time (even years) without any improvement even though you've carefully followed your doctor's treatment advice. Although there may have originally been an injury, or they may even be existing spinal damage or wear, the pain is independent of that.

For example, if you were to look at a bundle of x-rays of people's spines, you couldn't tell from the damage or deterioration just who had pain and who didn't. The fact is that people who have little or no damage can feel a lot of pain, and people with significant damage or deterioration might be completely pain free.

The reason for this is that chronic pain is generated in the brain rather than in the body, and we can prove this very easily just by looking at MRI scans of the working brain. In fact functional magnetic resonance imaging proves conclusively that chronic pain is just the same as emotional pain! How shocking is that!

So this explains why your chronic pain might have persisted for a very long time, and if this is the case for you, then this article is crucial to your recovery!


Step 1: Reduce your stress. A jangled nervous system produces far more pain than a quiet, calm one, simply because it's so reactive. Identify all the factors of your life that give you stress, the people, the places, the things, the situations, and make sure you get help to resolve them. Your nervous system will thank you for it!

Step 2: Emotional Reactions. Do you have strong emotional reactions to things? This doesn't help chronic pain because it heightens the reactivity of your nervous system. You might be surprised to learn that there are actually ways to switch off unwanted emotional reactions so that you feel calm and can think more clearly, even in a crisis. Check out www.bmsa-int.com, which is a site for medical practitioners who are using this method very successfully with their clients.

Step 3: It's called social engagement. Yes, you definitely need to mix with people in a way that gives you pleasure. There's a whole field of science devoted to the health advantages (mental and physical) that comes from being involved with people socially, so when you have pain, you especially need to pay attention to this.

Step 4: Being Active. People who don't get enough physical activity have death rates higher than the combined rates of smoking, drinking, and unsafe sex! That's how important physical activity is. Physical activity increases your metabolic rate and gives you energy, boosts your immune system and supports good health, and keeps your muscles strong so that they support your bones and joints properly. There's always a way to increase activity, no matter how disabling your pain is, and no matter your movement constraints.

Step 5: Have an interest outside of yourself and your family or work. Focus is an amazing thing. If we're focussed on our pain (because there's nothing else more absorbing going on) then the pain will actually increase. It's not merely that we perceive that it's worse. It IS worse. So even if you're depressed and feel you can't be bothered getting into anything "interesting" it's essential that you choose something and involve yourself in it regularly. A good program will provide great support to you in that way.

Step 6: Are there any unhelpful family dynamics going on? Pain is a warning signal but the warning is not necessarily about anything going on in your body. It can be that your brain thinks you have a need to be dependent on others, or that your brain thinks you need protection from doing too much for others. And so it gives you pain. These co-dependency issues can generate all sorts of both physical and psychological symptoms, so it's certainly worth investigating them.

Step 7: Use BMSA (Brief, Multi-Sensory Activation). BMSA is designed to re-train your nervous system so that it stops producing chronic pain signals. Most people get relief immediately, and over 50% of people can eliminate their pain totally. Another 30-40% can reduce their pain dramatically, all through using BMSA.


Before you try any treatment, it's a good idea to "dip your toes in the water" and have some experience of what it's like. Not everyone responds straight away, but many people do, and so it's worth while going through the following steps to see what happens for you.

Take time to really think about your pain, concentrating on what words most accurately describe the location and nature of your pain. It's really important that they're your own words, words that seem very natural to you. For instance it might be something like:

I have this deep ache near my left hip I have this stabbing pain just above my tailbone I have this burning pain in the middle of my lower back but a bit to the left Etc, etc, etc.

What we've done with these examples is to to describe how the pain actually feels (the type of pain) and where it feels like it's located, in our own words. Once you've done that for your own pain, decide how strong it is, using 10 as your benchmark. 10 out of 10 is the strongest pain you could imagine, and if you have 0, your pain would be completely gone.

Now you're going to say that statement over and over again, maybe 12 times, each time saying something silly on the end of it. And at the same time you're going to keep up a quick tapping process all over your head and body, using your fingertips to tap on your head, shoulders, face, chest, legs, anywhere you can reach. Mix it up, using tapping on the spot, tapping out shapes or letters of the alphabet.

If we take the example above "I have this deep ache near my left hip", I'd be tapping along while saying the following sentence, for example:

"I have this deep ache near my left hip, but polka dots taste crunchy."

You repeat this whole sentence a dozen times while you keep up the tapping process. That's called a "bracket". At the end of the bracket, keep focussing on the pain, and as you do that tap repeatedly on your chest while you take a deep breath through your nose and then exhale forcefully from your mouth.

Now rate that exact pain in that exact place. You may notice other pain, or it might seem that the pain has moved, but what you're most intent on finding out is what has happened in that exact location. Is that pain still the same number out of 10, or has something happened there?

Most people doing this exercise will get some result. A lucky few will get dramatic reduction of their pain just from doing this (and in the beginning that could be temporary, or permanent). But if you stick with the program, using the book "The Pain Train - Time to Get Off", you will almost certainly experience a big reduction in your pain, or even complete elimination, in a very short space of time.
About the Author
Christine Sutherland is a clinical researcher and an expert in treating back pain . You can view other articles on back pain on her web site.
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