How writing can help alleviate chronic pain

Writing down negative thoughts, then destroying the piece of paper, is the recommendation made by surgeon Dr David Hanscom to patients with chronic pain.

Do not think about it, or question what you are writing – just do it.

Dr Hanscom explains: ‘This process is essential to healing your chronic pain, and you’ll begin to get better the day you begin to write. Even if you don’t want to own your thoughts, write them down. Then rip up, crumple, trash or burn the document.

The more you try to suppress your dark thoughts, the stronger they will become. Writing them down and then destroying them acknowledges them and allows you to separate from them.’

Dr Hanscom believes that by talking about your pain, you reinforce the pathways that trigger the pain, so the problem does not resolve. Thoughts are just a series of connections between neurons in your brain and have no substance. Your body produces chemicals in response to the thoughts, and this creates sensations, but they are not real. By writing down thoughts, you can detach from them.

Writing helps by:

  • creating new pathways between nerves, linking thoughts to feelings and sight
  • creating space between ‘you’ and ‘your thoughts’
  • slowing down the circuits that spin automatically in response to thoughts.

Dr Hanscom says: ‘Writing helps people to see the impact a thought is having on them. They then have the option to create a new response’.

‘This is not a quick fix’, Dr Hanscom advises. Repetitive writing, as many times a day as feels right for you, works. But not to a set timetable.

Chronic pain is driven by how the brain works. Writing helps because it targets how the brain works.

While many examples of chronic pain can be helped by writing, it is not a substitute for getting yourself checked out to rule out physical causes for your pain.

A chiropractor can help. Call us for an appointment on 9922121556.


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