Pain and Your Brain

I have seen a couple of patients recently who have been very distressed because they have perceived from their treating physiotherapists and/or doctors that the reason for their ongoing pain is their brain! Their brain being the problem and the reason why they are in pain!

I have blogged about this in more detail over at but basically what we have seen in health is a shift towards the view that all pain is created in the brain. Now I don't for one disagree with this, because we need a functioning/conscious brain to feel pain. For example if you are under a general anaesthetic your brain is not conscious and therefore you cannot feel the surgeons performing surgery on you. You need to be conscious to feel pain.

What however needs to be explained is that whilst the brain produces the pain experience it doesn't mean that structures (muscles, joints, nerves) cannot contribute to your pain. Identifying and treating your pain is not simply about treating your brain, nor is it purely about treating muscles and joints, some balance is required. As always the reason(s) for one persons ongoing pain is completely individual. No two people are the same! But it is not purely ever about "fixing" your brain.

Thanks for reading.

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