Chronic pain conditions may be triggered by human emotions, research suggests.

Leading researchers have suggested that common ailments including sciatica, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions may be caused by human emotions.

Georgie Oldfield MCSP, from Huddersfield, runs SIRPA, which was set up in 2010 to teach health professionals and coaches to help people deal with the root causes of chronic pain and other persistent symptoms. Saina, has been working as a physiotherapist since 1983.

The 62-year-old was employed by the old man. NHS Spending several decades self-employed and running her own business before leaving the health service to focus more on helping people in pain.

For years in the public and private sector, Mrs. Oldfield dealt with patients who could not attribute their pain or recurring health problems to a physical cause.

Common ailments ranging from sciatica, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions may be triggered by human emotions, leading researchers have suggested (File Image: Man with shoulder pain).

Mrs Oldfield told MailOnline: ‘It was incomprehensible that people were coming to me and going pain-free and still having a herniated disc, for example.

‘While for other people who were experiencing pain, they came in with the results of medical tests and scans, nothing was found.

‘When I left the NHS in 2005 I had more time to think about it. I was reading around and talking to colleagues and asking so many questions and then in 2007,

‘I looked at the work of Dr John Sarno, a professor of rehabilitation medicine in New York.

Mrs Oldfield (pictured) was employed in the NHS for decades before setting up SIRPA in 2010.

Over the years he has dealt with patients who could not attribute their pain or recurring health problems to any physical cause.

‘His hypothesis was that chronic pain was a mind-body condition in which unresolved emotions manifested as pain and other symptoms.

‘The work that SIRPA teaches is constantly evolving because pain science now explains why treating the underlying causes of chronic pain, rather than the pain itself, is more likely to resolve the pain, not the pain itself. Just managing it.’

In the early stages it is important to rule out any physical cause of a person’s pain, including cancer, infection, fracture or an autoimmune condition.

It can be confusing when a physical cause of pain has been ruled out, especially if an illness has come out of nowhere and interfered with one’s daily life.

Once the nervous system becomes desensitized, it can cause a number of problems within the body, Mrs Oldfield said.

However, seemingly random pain is often associated with the triggering of repressed feelings such as anger, fear, and frustration.

Once these emotions build up and reach a critical point, they can over-sensitize the nervous system.

This can result in numerous problems in the body and conditions such as sciatica, migraines, whiplash, fibromyalgia and tinnitus.

The patient, who lacks understanding of current science, may feel that their pain is physical, and that there is something wrong with their tissues, muscles, nerves or bones.

The patient, who lacks understanding of current science, may feel that their pain is physical, and that there is something wrong with their tissues, muscles, nerves or bones (Image: SIRPA Conference)

To confuse matters further, they may also be told that they are damaged or that the disk has slipped from the scan and believe that this is the root cause of the problem.

But as the researchers claim, this is an outdated and flawed model, with growing evidence suggesting that people who don’t report pain have had scans that show disc, joint and arthritis problems. Which shows that degeneration is just a normal part of aging.

Pain – whether emotional or physical – is ultimately controlled in this part of the brain.

The findings received pushback when the research was in its infancy in 2007, but now there is more evidence to support the claims.

Pain – whether it’s emotional or physical – is ultimately controlled in a single part of the brain (Image: A SIRPA conference)

Some chronic pain patients, however, are skeptical and adamant that there must be something structurally wrong with them.

According to Mrs. Oldfield, to change this attitude, we need to educate ourselves and update our beliefs about pain.

Major organizations such as the International Association for the Study of Pain are beginning to interpret it differently.

For them, pain is not only associated with the actual loss but can also ‘resemble’ it.

Mrs Oldfield added: ‘What we do is help people overcome misconceptions/rumours all the time, which is not easy and can take time.

The findings received pushback when Mrs Oldfield’s research was in its infancy in 2007, but now there is more evidence to support the claims (Image: Mrs Oldfield on ITV)

‘We have been influencing people’s beliefs for decades. However, we know that mind and body are not separate and that’s why part of our work is encouraging people to be more aware of what’s going on in their bodies.

What can make the pain worse are the six F’s formulated by Mrs. Oldfield’s American colleague, clinician and researcher, Dr. Howard Schubiner.

According to Dr. Schubiner, chronic pain is often made worse by fear, frustration, focusing on the pain, trying to fix it, figuring it out, and fighting it.

SIRPA researchers (pictured) have found that seemingly random pain is often linked to the activation of suppressed emotions such as anger, fear and frustration.

Mrs Oldfield explained: ‘Evidence shows that fear of pain, even just worrying about it, can make it worse.

‘Also, the more we focus on the pain, the more we fuel it. And if we try to fight it and push it away, it can make it worse.

Trying to fix it and googling it all the time as well as frustration just makes it worse. But trying to pinpoint pain and overanalyzing it can also make it worse.

‘I get emails from people who say, ‘I’m fighting my pain every day’ but sadly this leads to resistance.

‘It’s about self-compassion and surrendering to pain, which is hard for people to understand. However, if you surrender, the pain will stop fighting you, like a soldier if you surrender in battle.’

According to Mrs. Oldfield, to change this attitude, we need to educate ourselves and update our beliefs about pain.

Improving one’s chronic pain requires working with the stress response, identifying and addressing any underlying causes, learning how to reset the mind from a state of fear and protection. .

Mrs Oldfield added: ‘Looking at your life timeline can help identify some issues, past and present, that may be challenging for you and that you may not have recognized at the time. And they were not paid attention to.

‘Therapy journaling can be an effective way to help with this.’

Before starting to work on any unresolved emotions, though, Mrs. Oldfield says she’ll always teach a client how to calm, coordinate breathing and ground themselves.

Major organizations such as the International Association for the Study of Pain are beginning to interpret it differently (pictured: Kathryn Pollitt, a physio on Sarpa’s membership board).

This helps the pain sufferer feel more comfortable acknowledging the feelings that have begun to surface.

And what’s more, it can help many people feel safe to recognize their feelings when they start to surface.

For years people have avoided and distracted themselves because we learned in early childhood that it was not safe to express them.

So by becoming more emotionally aware, removing false beliefs and unhelpful behaviors, as well as removing your pain from learned and sensitive neural circuits, Mrs Oldfield says it is possible to resolve chronic pain.

Read more:

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