When I say “in your head” I certainly do not mean “imaginary”. The pain is every bit as real as the pain from a broken bone.
It is widely acknowledged that current treatments for chronic pain without adequate explanatory pathology work no better than placebo. So it is no wonder that some 3 million Australians are currently living with persistent pain which nothing seems to help.
Study after study demonstrates the role of the amygdala in the perception of many types of chronic pain.
…. the field of “classical conditioning” has possibly just become the single most thrilling area in the whole of human psychology/physiology today, capable of completely revolutionising therapy across a massive range of disorders, and even capable of changing the world.
… let’s deal with what might be the two biggest obstacles to understanding what works and what doesn’t: the meaning of two troublesome words, “anecdote” and “placebo”.
Experts agree that up until now there has been no therapy, whether that is psychological, pharmaceutical, physiotherapy, or even surgery, that has helped the overwhelming majority of chronic pain patients whose pain is not explained by pathology.
Not many people realise that only around 20% of chronic pain sufferers actually get relief from current treatments, which is not different to placebo, and that this leaves around 3 million Australians experiencing pain pretty much on a daily basis.
To this day CBT is regarded by many as the “gold standard” of therapy for a very wide range of problems and disorders from anxiety and depression, through to unresolved chronic pain.