Chronic Pain

In this animation we look at what chronic pain is, and what you can do about getting rid of it.

A transcript of the video follows.

Chronic Pain Video Transcript

Experiencing pain is normal. Everyone experiences pain now and again. Pain is supposed to be a protective experience to make sure you stop doing things that may be dangerous, but chronic pain that is pain that has persisted for more than three months is no longer protective, nor informative.

Let’s look at what chronic pain is and what you can do about getting rid of it.

All pain is created by your brain because your brain has decided that you are threatened or in danger and need protecting. The interesting thing here is that you don’t actually have to have any actual tissue damage to feel pain, and if your brain is not aware of tissue damage, you may not feel any pain at all, even when you’ve injured yourself.

Chronic pain is the second most common reason people see a doctor and miss work. More than one third of people with chronic pain become disabled by their pain to some degree. Chronic pain can be mild or excruciating. It can be episodic or continuous. It can be merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating.

The pain can be from headaches or joint pain, can be neck pain, back pain, or pain from an injury. Other kinds of chronic pain include tendonitis or sinus pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and pain affecting specific parts of the body, such as shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles, or feet. The common thing with all these types of pain is that the actual feeling of pain is always 100% of the time created in your brain.

This does not mean it’s not real.

It’s very real, but understanding that the pain itself is created in your brain has major implications for how you can get rid of it, and because pain depends so much on what you think and feel about the pain. It’s very important you understand pain properly. Your pain experience depends on why your brain has decided you need to be protected & why it’s creating the feeling of pain for you in the first place. Therefore be very useful for you to try to figure out why your brain may be creating pain for you. What was happening at or around the time your pain started? What makes it worse and what makes it better? Why is this so important?

Because we know that the brain can be retrained. So you need to use all the tools available to you to retrain your brain out of pain. Some of the keys to retraining your brain are staying active, staying positive, eating well, and sleeping well today.

Let’s look at why staying active is so important.

Your posture and how you move plays an important role in how you feel and how you experience pain. Even as little as a short walk, every day can help. If there are movements you cannot do because of your pain, you can still help yourself by imagining those movements. We know from neuroscience research that imagining a movement influences the brain in a very similar way to actually doing the movement.

This can help to retrain your brain to understand that the movement is not dangerous. Because imagining doing the movement will not hurt. You can basically trick your brain into giving you back pain-free movement. Play with these sorts of things. Make movement fun, move in different emotional states like when you are happy or grateful.

Move outside in the sun in the park with beautiful plants and flowers, or move in water.

The movement of your spine is also very important. Yoga or simple spinal exercises can be great for this, and chiropractic care may be really important to help you move too. The main focus of chiropractic care is to improve the movement and function of your spine.

This is so important because proper movement of the spine helps the brain to know more accurately what is going on. Not just in the spine, but also elsewhere in the body.

And chiropractic care has already well known in the research literature to help people who suffer with neck pain, back pain, and headaches.

This is most likely because chiropractic care helps the brain know more accurately what is going on in the spine and body. And, may help the brain to switch off the feelings of pain when they are no longer needed.

So if you suffer with chronic pain, do your best to stay positive, move often, eat well, sleep well, and go see your family chiropractor to help retrain your brain out of pain.


  1. Katz WA. The needs of a patient in pain. The American Journal of Medicine 1998;105(1, Supplement 2):2S-7S. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9343(98)00068-0
  2. Seymour B. Pain: A Precision Signal for Reinforcement Learning and ControlNeuron 2019;101(6):1029-41. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.01.055 [published Online First: 2019/03/22]
  3. Holt K, Russell D, Cooperstein R, et al. Interexaminer reliability of a multidimensional battery of tests used to assess for vertebral subluxations. Chiropr J Aust 2018;46(1):101-17.
  4. Fenton BW, Shih E, Zolton J. The neurobiology of pain perception in normal and persistent pain. Pain management 2015;5(4):297-317. doi: 10.2217/pmt.15.27 [published Online First: 2015/06/20]
  5. Koyama T, McHaffie JG, Laurienti PJ, et al. The subjective experience of pain: Where expectations become reality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2005;102(36):12950-55. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0408576102
  6. Mitsi V, Zachariou V. Modulation of pain, nociception, and analgesia by the brain reward center. Neuroscience 2016;338:81-92. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.05.017
  7. Ploghaus A. Dissociating Pain from Its Anticipation in the Human Brain. Science 1999;284(5422):1979-81. doi: 10.1126/science.284.5422.1979
  8. Wager TD. Placebo-Induced Changes in fMRI in the Anticipation and Experience of Pain. Science 2004;303(5661):1162-67. doi: 10.1126/science.1093065
  9. Wiech K. Deconstructing the sensation of pain: The influence of cognitive processes on pain perception. Science 2016;354(6312):584-87. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf8934 [published Online First: 2016/11/05]
  10. Świeboda P, Filip R, Prystupa A, et al. Assessment of pain: types, mechanism and treatment. Pain 2013;2(7)
  11. Costigan M, Scholz J, Woolf CJ. Neuropathic Pain: A Maladaptive Response of the Nervous System to Damage. Annual Review of Neuroscience 2009;32(1):1-32. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.051508.135531
  12. Bannister K, Kucharczyk M, Dickenson AH. Hopes for the future of pain control. Pain and Therapy 2017;6(2):117-28.

© Haavik Research

More information or Bookings

For more information or to make a booking please call us on (03) 9337 9868 or, click here to make a chiropractor booking online. Alternately use our Contact form to send us an inquiry.