BLOG: Pain is in Your Brain

Schedule Online Now!Instant Gift Certificates

by Marlene Mayman | Jan 10, 2014 | Brain, Pain, Video

All pain is 100% in the brain. This means it is the brain’s job to receive and interpret nerve signals, to decide if there is a threat to the body and, if so, triggering a sensation of pain. Sometimes the brain makes mistakes, telling us something is painful when there’s actually nothing wrong.

In general terms:

  • Acute pain is less than three months old and often has to do with soft tissue damage.
  • Chronic pain lasts three months or longer and may be a leftover effect after tissue damage has healed.

While there are exceptions to the the three month distinction — such as some forms of arthritis or other auto-immune diseases, where inflammation is fairly continuous and soft tissue doesn’t heal, or serious injury that is left untreated or heals improperly — in terms of trauma to the body, most tissues will mend within a relatively short time period, and pain should similarly dissipate.

When soft tissue heals but pain persists, retraining the brain may be necessary for full recovery. An example of this would be phantom pain experienced by amputees, some of whom are successfully trained to mediate their discomfort using a mirror system of treatment … a form of brain training. Brain training may decrease pain perception or help the sufferer ignore pain so they may live a functional and full life.

Understanding how pain works can also help chronic sufferers. This is an excellent review of Explain Pain, a book by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley and published by Noigroup, which I encourage you to pick up.

Some related approaches:

  1. Retrain Pain: Learn a Science Based Approach to Overcome Chronic Pain (FREE!)
  2. Managing Chronic Pain: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach
  3. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
  4. Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider’s Guide: Return to Your Life: Ways to Confront and Relieve Pain Through Avenues Other Than Drugs (book)
  5. Brain Mechanisms Supporting the Modulation of Pain by Mindfulness Meditation (The Journal of Neuroscience)

For an interesting presentation of modern science’s understanding of pain, have a look at this engaging 5 minute video:

I approach my clients’ pain holistically and am happy to discuss your “big pain picture,” set goals for our work together and help guide you towards lasting recovery. If you wish to discuss a condition you have, please contact me for a free phone consultation or schedule an appointment.

Hours by Appointment:

Hours and days may vary, to inquire please call or text 240-487-9387.

Monday: 9am-4pm
Tuesday: 9am-5pm
Wednesday: Usually closed*
Thursday: 9am-5pm
Friday: 9am-4pm
Weekends: CLOSED
*Occasionally open, please see schedule.

12 year anniversary.

In practice since 2006

Massage Therapy Foundation logo.

Research Supporter

10% off your first session!

Text or call 240-487-9387

New to massage?

How can massage help me?
What should I expect on my first visit?
Do I have to get undressed?
What areas of the body will be massaged?
Find answers here:

Instant Gift Certificates

Give the gift of health and relaxation. Purchase online and print or email.

What My Clients are Saying...

"When I leave a session with Marlene—I have the feelings of someone that just got fantastic news. I believe her touch encourages you to connect with yourself and at the same time let go of stress and let her help. I find in my sessions with her—she is attentive/knowledgeable and intuitive to the point where verbal communication is not necessary. She is truly talented.” — Gina Click
"Marlene Mayman has a unique and amazing gift of healing through the art of massage therapy. After just two sessions, she provided me with much-needed pain relief from a pinched ulnar nerve, as a result of whiplash. I had tried months of physical therapy with no success. I was so desperate to escape the numbness in my hand & arm and to my amazement she accomplished what others could not do. I feel so fortunate to have found the gift of Marlene… My husband sees her as well and we cannot sing her praises enough. Thank you, Marlene!” — Becky Stallings Schneider
"My entire upper body feels much improved. The most noticeable effect is the lack of pain in that little area near my shoulder blades. This is such a relief. I have been on the computer for long periods of time, and it has not been a problem. Also, my entire shoulder area feels more flexible and there is significantly less pain on that left side. Thank you so much for all of the hard work you put in to this.” — Alison Roeser
"I have suffered with carpel tunnel for many years. Marlene was able to improve my situation tremendously in a few visits. Marlene is not your average therapist; she is highly trained, committed to excellence and very professional in all she does. I would trust her and recommended her to anyone without reservation.” — Mac Caldwell

See more reviews on Yelp, Facebook and Google