What Is Pain Reprocessing Therapy and Will It Help My Chronic Pain? Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT) is a psychological treatment that teaches patients to think differently about their pain. Recent research reports that in some patients that underwent the training, pain decreased or disappeared. Will It Help My Chronic Pain? Read further to find out.
|What Is Pain Reprocessing Therapy and Will It Help My Chronic Pain? Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT) is a psychological treatment that teaches patients to think differently about their pain. Recent research reports that in some patients that underwent the training, pain decreased or disappeared. Will It Help My Chronic Pain? Read further to find out.
In my never ending search to manage my pain, I came across a brief blurb in Reader’s Digest about this topic. It is an interesting concept, and I wanted to find out if it could help me. And as I investigated it, I decided someone else with chronic pain might benefit from this information as well, so I wrote this article.
What Is Pain Reprocessing Therapy?
This therapy focuses on retraining the brain to process pain differently than it has been processing it. Doctors claim they can teach the brain to unlearn pain messages to the brain.
It is a therapy that involves psychological components, hence the need to work with a trained professional in the area of psychology, psychiatry, or counseling. These components include:
- Learning about how the brain functions and recognizing the brain’s ability to relearn
- Personalizing the learning about the brain’s ability to reverse pain signals
- Evaluating pain sensations
- Examining other emotions
- Striving toward positive feelings
A website called Pain Reprocessing Therapy provides a better explanation here. This website is where I learned a little about this therapy, and I recommend you check it out.
They also provide a PDF of the process that they refer to as the Treatment Outline. Click here for a copy. I printed it out for myself to study it further, as I learn best with a hard copy to read. It is easy to understand for those of us that aren’t trained in psychiatry or other fields of study of the brain.
In My Own Words
I have outlined the process in my own words. From the above components I understand the process to include:
1. Educating the brain to have a different perspective on pain, and actually thinking of it as being “safe”. Over time this will reduce fear of pain and then reduce the pain.
2. Exploring the possible cause of pain. In 85% of patients with chronic pain they do not have a structural issue associated with their pain. Rather there are other factors that may affect the cause of the pain. In this step we examine all the evidence we can to make a conclusion.
3. Here is where the rubber meets the road. We are aware and mindful of the pain, but we are rethinking the message and reassessing to tell our brains that the pain isn’t something to panic over or fear. It is where we begin to view the pain positively and safely.
4. Here we examine emotions that we experience and that may be related to our perceptions of pain. When the body senses pain, it senses danger, and our responses to that can increase pain levels. So we work toward decreasing fear and stress.
5. This can then allow us to move to positive feelings and sensations that replace the fear and pain. We feel safe and grateful, and provide ourselves with compassion.
As stated, this is in my own words. I have read the PDF Treatment Outline and summarized it here. You may draw different conclusions. But I hope I have at least explained it enough for you to understand it a bit better.
Also, Dr. Les Aria provides a great short video explaining the process. Take some time to watch the video below.
And this video, though almost an hour, is very much worth viewing, and reviewing. It is informative and for me established my understanding of this concept. He ran through many of the treatments that I have tried and haven’t helped. I have not had back surgery.
My favorite line in the video: “The reign of pain lies mainly in the brain”. Howard Schubiner
Neuroscience of Pain
This process assumes the brain has plasticity. Read the next section to learn a little more about that concept.
There is a field of study in science called Neuroscience. According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition for neuroscience is the study of the function and structure of the nervous system and the brain. It is multi-disciplined in that it includes several fields of study such as chemistry, biology, and physiology.
Because of great advances in molecular biology and computer applications, we understand more about the brain. And we recognize that the brain has plasticity, which means it changes regularly. There is hope then that through learning and therapy, the brain can be retaught to process pain differently.
This field of study is ongoing and will hopefully help us to understand pain and the brain’s response to it. Here is an article from Practical Pain Management about the Neuroscience of Pain.
So the belief is that since the brain has plasticity, we can teach it, through Pain Reprocessing Therapy, to “rethink” pain and not have us hurt anymore.
Another type of brain therapy is Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I wrote an article on that also. Check it out here; What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?
Can You Be Helped By Pain Reprocessing Therapy?
There is a good possibility that you can be helped. Though the scientific data is still small, it is encouraging. Over 60% of patients in a test study experienced reduction or relief from their pain. Check out the link to one of the studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
So the odds are that this therapy can help you. I think it is worth checking out.
How To Find a Therapist for Pain Reprocessing Therapy
I referred to the website Pain Reprocessing Therapy in the first part of this article. They have a directory tab where you can search for a practitioner. I think this is a reliable way to find someone that is trained in this process.
Unfortunately for me, I can’t find anyone nearby. I will do some more investigating though, because this sounds like a valuable therapy that I would like to try. I think I could benefit from it.
This therapy shows promise of relief for many of us that suffer from chronic pain. I like that it is not a medication, but a system of learning whereby I may be relieved from my pain. I assume it takes work on my part, and I am willing to do it. How about you?
If you have used this treatment, please leave a comment and tell us about your experience. We chronic pain sufferers have to help each other.