If you are one of the unfortunate people who experience pain longer than a couple of months, your brain has changed. In addition to your soft tissue injury or structural problem—your pain has evolved into a neurological problem.
How did this happen? When the nervous system is barraged day after day with pain impulses, many changes occur within the brain itself. The brain sends out signals that alter the body’s chemistry. The brain and the pathways to the brain become sensitized to these pain signals. Eventually, the central nervous system “memorizes” the pain. If you have chronic pain, this is what has happened to your brain.
This phenomenon is not a “psychological” problem as much as it is “programming” problem. Repetitive impulses to the brain in the form of negative thinking or pain will create neurological “circuits” that will take on a life of their own.
The final phase in the development of chronic pain is that the “modifiers” come into play. After a period of time, sleep is commonly disrupted, and you become more anxious and frustrated. These factors not only add to your misery, they change your body chemistry and you actually feel the pain more. This whole sequence must be addressed to successfully improve the quality of your life.