How you pay attention determines the quality of your emotional and physical well-being, yet most of us aren't even aware that we have a choice. Psychologist and neurofeedback pioneer Les Fehmi explains the connection between your attention habits and pain in "DISSOLVING PAIN", co-written with science writer Jim Robbins. Migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and insomnia appear as disparate symptoms but often they are manifestations of one problem, a stressed nervous system, and all these –and many more conditions – have been helped through attention training.
Anytime you’re in pain, whether it’s a physical pain such as back pain, or an emotional pain, the instinct is to focus attention on the pain and fight it, which then creates more anxiety and makes your pain worse – in a vicious mind/body cycle. It takes energy to fight pain, resulting in feelings of exhaustion. People referred to Dr. Fehmi's clinical practice are often at the point of despair, believing they've tried everything – and they find relief with his simple Open FocusTM brain exercises.
"The Pain is in the Brain," says Allan Basbaum, PhD, FRS, Chair of the Department of Anatomy at UC San Francisco in his lecture on pain and treatment pathways, below. There are parallels between Dr. Basbaum's remarks, and Dr. Fehmi's in "Dissolving Pain":
* the pain is in the brain * anxiety and stress contribute to pain, often in a vicious cycle
* chronic pain is made worse by, and may exist because of, maladaptive pain memories
* phantom limb pain exists because there is still a representation of the missing limb in the brain
* attention plays a vital role in the experience of pain.