The 8 That Are Produced in Your Brain
When you're in serious pain, the medications you're taking are mainly designed to neutralize the brain chemistry that relays pain signals. Here's why your subconscious may be more effective than drugs at doing that.
Unless you're taking anti-inflammatory drugs, the purpose of the pain meds you're taking now is to alter your brain chemistry so that pain signals don't get sent or felt. But brain chemistry is an extremely complex subject that's not fully understood, so these meds don't always work.
No fewer than eight brain chemicals are known to be involved in pain transmission - four to amplify pain, and four to limit it. If you target only one or two, as most drugs do, you may accidentally throw the others out of balance, possibly causing side effects or limited effectiveness.
This could be true whether you have back pain or pain in the neck or other extremities, arthritis pain, fibromyalgia pain, or neuropathic pain (nerve pain).
Because the subconscious controls the involuntary functions of the body, it may know what combination of neurotransmitters is most likely to ease your pain. It may also be uniquely positioned to create that combination on your behalf. To see how, let's take a brief look at each of these eight chemicals.
The Four Main Transmitters of Pain
? Glutamate is the main neurotransmitter used by the NMDA (N-methyl D-aspartate) pain receptors in the spinal cord, the ones most involved with chronic pain. Unless glutamate is present, those receptors don't work. Activation of the NMDA receptors has serious consequences that you may be able to reduce using visualizations.
? Substance P can cause inflammation in some types of neuropathic pain. It can also help glutamate to activate NMDA, thereby greatly increasing the pain signal. Visualizations may be able to help you reduce these effects.
? Norepinephrine normally inhibits the perception of pain. But if the stimulus is prolonged, as in the case of back problems or fibromyalgia, norepinephrine may actually enhance pain signals. In some cases visualizations can help avoid this switch from pain inhibitor to pain facilitator.
? Acetylcholine helps to transmit pain signals. It's possible that some analgesics work simply because they prevent acetylcholine from being released. To relieve pain, The subconscious seems willing to adjust acetylcholine levels through visualizations.
The Four Main Inhibitors of Pain
? Endorphins and a sub-type called enkephalins are the body's main defense against pain. As soon as pain signals arrive in the brain these chemicals are released to inhibit both substance P and acetylcholine. If your pain is chronic your subconscious will probably request that you visualize an increase in endorphins.
? GABA inhibits both glutamate and substance P, the two main chemicals involved in chronic pain. Its release is triggered by the enkephalins. To ease pain, the subconscious often suggests an increase in GABA through visualizations.
? Serotonin relieves pain no less than four ways--by blocking the brain's perception of pain, making blood vessels more flexible, improving mood, and being linked to sleep. Using a visualization statement about increasing serotonin levels may thus be helpful in several dimensions.
? Dopamine, known as the feel-good neurotransmitter, is released not only during positive experiences but during pain as well. Too much of it can inhibit the endorphins, but the right amount can help to relieve pain. Achieving this balance through visualizations is something the subconscious may be able to do.
The Role of Visualization
If your pain meds aren't working, or are producing unacceptable side effects, consider this: the optimal way to manage neurotransmitters may be to induce your body to manage them naturally, through visualization statements.
Visualization statements represent the specific language that your subconscious wants you to read back to it to help ease your pain. They're simple and are targeted directly at the main factors that could bring you relief.
You can obtain these statements by learning how to communicate directly with your own subconscious mind. The process is straightforward and can be done at home by working with a facilitator over the telephone. You you need no special skills and no previous experience in working with the subconscious.
Balancing the Trade-Offs
In today's world of limited understanding about brain chemistry, the subconscious may in fact be one of the most useful tools you have balancing the many trade-offs between the neurotransmitters that control pain.
Ben Plumb is CEO and President of The Visualization Group, Inc. The company's service is delivered by people like himself who personally suffered from years of chronic pain, and used the visualization method described in this article to obtain relief when nothing else worked.