Pain sits in your brain: Part I

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) National Pain Consortium estimates that the public health burden of pain affects one third of America’s population at a cost between $560 and $635 billion each year. The British Pain Society quoted England’s Chief Medical Officer, who said that annually more than five million people in the UK develop chronic pain. Unfortunately, one third of them do not recover. 11% of adults and 8% of children in the UK suffer severe pain.

In medicine pain relates to a sensation that hurts. You feel discomfort, distress and perhaps agony, depending on the severity of it. Pain can be steady and constant, in which case it may be an ache. It might be a throbbing pain – a pulsating pain. The pain could have a pinching sensation, or a stabbing one. Being a sensation it is generated by sensory relays in the brain (primary somato-sensorial cortex).


The English word ‘pain’ comes from Latin “poena” meaning punishment or from ancient Greek word “poine”, meaning penalty. A “punishment” or “penalty” sensation created in the brain in sensorial cortex; this means the subject experiencing pain wants to punish himself and feels guilty for something. Self-criticism, self-devaluation are usually thoughts associated with strong emotions triggering the pain. As stronger these emotions are as more pain we want and finally we could also auto-flagellate us by unconsciously inducing a desire to suicide or to create an accident.

Because sensorial and motoric cortex relays are so close to each other many times motoric impulses can trigger pain; thus diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, arthrosis, or different kind of injuries are associated with the pain sensation.

Pain science has learned a great deal in the last fifty years, but most of this information has had seemingly little impact on the way pain is commonly treated. If you have pain, this is stuff you should know.  By the time you are done reading this post you will know more than many medical providers about pain mechanisms, and maybe even feel a little better as a result, because research shows that pain education can improve outcomes. Here are some basics ideas of pain science.

  1. Pain is “A Survival Mechanism Whose Purpose Is to Protect the Body”. Pain is defined as an unpleasant subjective experience whose purpose is to motivate you to do something, usually to protect body parts that the brain thinks (rightly or wrongly) are damaged. If you feel pain, it means that your brain thinks the body is under threat, and that something has to be done about it. In this sense, pain is a survival mechanism of fundamental importance. People born without the ability to feel pain (yes, they really exist) don’t live very long. Your nervous system takes its job of creating pain very seriously, and therefore you can expect that when it thinks a part of the body is being damaged, it will err on the side of giving you a clear incentive to do something about it.
  2. Pain is “An Output of the Brain, Not an Input from the Body” This is the fundamental paradigm shift that has recently occurred in pain science. Pain is created by the brain, not passively perceived by the brain as a preformed sensation that arrives from the body. When a body part is damaged, nerve endings are triggered and send warning signals to the brain. But no pain is felt until the brain interprets this information and decides that pain would be helpful in some way – for example to encourage protective behaviors to minimize further damage and allow time for healing. The brain considers a huge amount of factors in making this decision and no two brains will decide the same thing. Many different parts of the brain help process the pain response, including areas that govern emotions, past memories, and future intentions. Therefore, pain is not an accurate measurement of the amount of tissue damage in an area, it is a signal encouraging action. When a professional musician hurts his hand, his brain might consider very different actions than a soccer player with the same injury. And therefore you can believe that he may get a very different pain response.
  3. Physical Harm Does Not Equal Pain and Vice Versa.If you are in pain, you are not necessarily hurt. And if you are hurt, you will not necessarily feel pain. A very dramatic example of tissue damage without pain occurs when a solider is wounded in battle, or a surfer gets an arm bitten off by a shark. In these situations, there is a good chance the victim will not feel any pain at all until the emergency is over. Pain is a survival mechanism, and in cases where pain makes survival even harder, we shouldn’t be surprised that there is no pain. Although most of us have never had our arms bitten off by sharks, we have likely experienced bumps or falls during a sports match or some other minor emergency that we didn’t feel until the game was over.

Further, many studies have shown that large percentages of people with pain free backs, shoulders and knees have significant tissue damage in these areas that can be seen on MRI, such as herniated discs and torn rotator cuffs.

On the other hand, many people suffer from pain when there is no tissue damage at all. Allodynia is a condition where even normal stimuli such as a light touch the skin can cause excruciating pain. This is an extreme example of something that might occur quite commonly on a much smaller scale – the nervous system is sensitive to potential threats, and sounds the alarm even when no real threat is present.

  1. The Brain Often “Thinks” The Body Is In Danger Even When It Isn’t

The most dramatic example of this is phantom limb pain, when the victim feels pain in a missing body part. Although the painful limb has been gone for years and can no longer send signals to the brain, the part of the brain that senses the limb remains, and it can be mistakenly triggered by cross talk from nearby neural activity. When this occurs, victims might experience incredibly vivid and painful sensations of the missing limb. Amazingly, phantom arm pain can sometimes be cured by placing the remaining hand in a mirror box in a way that tricks the brain into thinking the missing arm is alive and well!  This is an extraordinary demonstration of the fact that the true target for pain relief is often the brain, not the body.

There are many other more commonplace instances where the brain does not know what is going on in the body and causes pain in an area that is clearly not under threat. Any kind of referred pain, where pain is felt a distance from the actual problem is an example of this. Allodynia is another example.

  1. Pain Breeds Pain

One unfortunate aspect of pain physiology is that the longer pain goes on, the easier it becomes to feel the pain. This is a consequence of a very basic neural process called long term potentiation, which basically means that the more times the brain uses a certain neural pathway, the easier it becomes to activate that pathway again. It’s like carving a groove through the snow while skiing down a mountain – the more times the same path is traveled the easier it is to fall into that same groove. This is the same process by which we learn habits or develop skills. In the context of pain, it means that the more times we feel a certain pain, the fewer stimuli are required to trigger the pain.

  1. Pain Can Be Triggered By Factors Unrelated To Physical Harm

You may have heard the phrase that neurons that fire together wire together.  The most famous example of this principle is Pavlov’s experiment where he rang a bell each time his dogs ate dinner, then later found that he could cause the dogs to salivate at the mere sound of the bell. What happened at the neural level is that the neurons for hearing the bell became wired to the neurons for salivating, because they fired together consistently for some time.

The same thing can happen with pain. Let’s say that every time you go to work you engage in some stressful activity such as working on a computer or lifting boxes in a way that causes back pain. After a while your brain will start to relate the work environment to the pain, to the point where you can start feeling the pain just by showing up, or maybe even just thinking about work. It is no surprise that job dissatisfaction is a huge predictor of back pain.

Further, it has also been shown that emotional states such as anger, depression, and anxiety will reduce tolerance to pain. Although it is hard to believe, research provides strong evidence that a significant portion of chronic back pain is caused more by emotional and social factors than actual physical damage to tissues. You may have noticed that when you return to a place you haven’t been for many years, you quickly fall back into old patterns of speech, posture or behavior that you thought you had left behind permanently. Pain can be the same way, getting triggered or recalled by certain social contexts, feelings or thoughts that are associated with the pain. Ever notice that your pain went away went you went on vacation and came back when you returned?

  1. The Central Nervous System (CNS) Can Change Its Sensitivity Level To Pain

There are numerous mechanisms by which the CNS can increase or decrease its sensitivity to a stimulus from the body. The most extreme example of desensitization occurs during an emergency situation as described above, when pain signals from the body are completely inhibited from reaching the brain.

Most of the time an injury will increase the level of sensitization, presumably so that the brain can more easily protect an area that is now known to be damaged. When an area becomes sensitized, we can expect that pain will be felt sooner and more strongly, so that even normally innocuous mechanical pressures can cause pain. There are many complicated mechanisms by which the level of sensitivity is increased or decreased which are far beyond the scope of this article to address. For our purposes, the key point is that the CNS is constantly adjusting the level of volume on the pain signals depending on a variety of factors. For whatever reason, it appears that in many individuals with chronic pain, the volume has simply been turned up too loud and left on for too long.  This is called central sensitization, and it probably plays at least some role in many chronic pain states. It is another example of how chronic pain does not necessarily imply continuing or chronic harm to the body.

From a physiological point of view a pain is actually “a sedation” triggered by our body intelligence to support the healing process.

  1. Pain which appears in cancer healing phase after the psychological conflict resolution, which is caused by fear and panic
  2. Emotionally caused pain, which is triggered by own desire to punish ourselves because of a strong “guilt sentiment”.

As per German New Medicine there is a pain during the healing phase of a disease. This can be approached only if the patient understands the process going on in his/her body, i.e. this pain appearing in the healing phase is a serious reason for celebration. The pain in humans and animals has indeed a biological sense, that painful organ or the whole body is sedated to facilitate the optimal healing process.

Some examples:

  1. Pain in bone cancer is manifesting in the conflict healing phase because holes created during the bone cancer active phase are now being filled and the periosteum is undergoing a distention which can cause severe pain. These pains occur regularly during the expansion of the periosteum. They are a good sign and an important process in the biological bone healing because the pain is forcing the individual to keep the affected skeletal part quiet which would fracture under load. It is important that the patient understands: bone pain for a bone cancer patient are in principle are a sure sign of healing.
  2. Pain in liver cancer: The liver capsule tensions are causing pain during the swelling of the liver in the hepatic “cancer healing phase” and this is a healing pain; same for ulcers of the urinary bladder, ureter / urethra, renal pelvis etc. Ulcers are being filled back with cellular mass and this process may trigger tensions in these organs causing a healing pain.
  3. Pain in adenoid breast carcinoma (glandular cancer) the pain hurts only in the final stages of healing by scar contraction. The women speak then about strong stab-like pain at the site of the node, the so-called scarring pain. This pain corresponds to the deep cerebellar pain of the skin and indeed we find this in the sclera, particularly strong in the shingles during the healing phase.
  4. The scaring pain in pleural and peritoneal cancer is appearing also in the late healing phase of ascites or pleural effusions. Most of diseases are indeed discovered only when they are already in the healing phase and symptoms are manifesting with pain. Then we all go to see a doctor and unfortunately we start generating much more conflicts due to diagnosis and therapies we are being administrated.
  5. Pain in rheumatism: rheumatism is triggered by a brutal separation conflict and during the healing phase is triggering lots of pain and numbness in affected area; this is a Hyperesthesia, a flowing pain, the so-called Rheumatism pain.
  6. The angina pectoris pain appearing during the epileptoid crisis, i.e. during the healing phase, is very strong because in this crisis the patient experiences again his whole conflict history in fast motion, hence the strong angina pectoris pain during the heart attack. In school medicine we have always believed we should have this chest pain “treated”, make the patient pain free. That was a big mistake. We can treat the patient and remove the pain, but then he may die. Why? We had no idea that this angina in epileptoid crisis has its survival important biological sense; the “proper conduct” of epileptoid crisis also decides on the proper edema knockout and thus this is a survival event. The vast majority of deaths in heart attacks occur during this epileptoid crisis. Not to be confused with angina pain; this manifests at the beginning of the conflict active phase.
  7. Headaches and migraines, or even the dreaded trigeminal pain, all occur after the conflict resolution, thus during the healing phase. In principle any brain edema subsides because edema is only a transitory phase. However edema pain can be dangerous and the patient can die due to the increased intracranial pressure, before he had gone back again in the conflict free phase. For example, in a very long period of conflict active phase or in major conflict of high intensity, or when multiple simultaneous peripheral foci edema occur at unfavorable locations and recurrences this is not only a painful phase but can end up in death.
  8. A dangerous situation can also occur for a generalized and strong self-devaluation conflict, if then in the healing phase the whole brain (medulla) is all over having edema.

The major tragedy is that the patient usually gets pain if he/she is already in the healing phase and then doctors start with different procedures and pharma drugs and slowdown or even worse, reverse the healing process. The better the patient is prepared and understands the pain origin, the easier it is to endure his pain until the healing process was completed. The greater is the panic, the stronger is also the pain.

One of the worst things today is that in the current medicine all patients who are having a lot of pain getmorphine or morphine-like agents. This morphine can already be lethal during the healing phase. It changes the whole brain vibration in a terrible way and shuts-down completely the patient’s mind. From then on also his/her gut is paralyzed; patient cannot process any food and must be fed artificially whereby nutrients are not being discharged in the blood stream The Patient is without will and no longer remembers or understands that he/she is killed basically when he/she was already in the healing phase and would have been well again in natural course of things in a few weeks.  Therefore, administration of morphine was always a one-way street, a killing drug on the installment plan.

Do the doctors know this? Of course they know. But be prepared for the dogmatic and comfortable position: “pain, which is the beginning of the end, there’s nothing to be done anyway. The natural healing of cancer is simply ignored for dogmatic reasons, so that cancer is a notifiable disease and death of immature patient who thus remains manipulative.

If patients consider in retrospect the relatively short time of their “healing phase pain” they are thankful that they have been saved from Morphine Death; drugs such as Fortral, Valeron or Temgesic would kill you safely during the healing phase after 2-3 weeks.

Similarly one can stop abruptly every healing process with chemo-drugs, then of course the pain is gone, this meaningful sign of recovery; but the supposed “success” is actually a prohibition of healing at the cost of poisoning the whole organism.

Therefore positive medicine therapy based on GNM principles consists primarily on making the patients understand the relationships, the origins and development of diseases and associated symptoms and pain. Patients do not panic because one knows that each procedure is part of a sound biological special program, which has been used by Mother Nature for our own good. And one can now understand very well what is happening and what will comes next; thus one learns that respecting body’s intelligence and self-healing process 95% of patients will survive their diseases.

Follow us on Part II about pain to learn how to manage your pain; more to come, stay tuned.

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