top of page

Frequently Asked Questions

1. So you're saying it's all in my head?!

No, you're symptoms are 100% REAL!  Symptoms originate in the brain but this happens on a subconscious level.  Our brains can become overly protective when they have been put on high alert for a long period of time.  The brain is always trying to protect us by sending us danger signals.  For example, if we touch a hot stove, the brain creates pain to get us to pull our hand away. Chronic (long term) pain, fatigue, and other neuroplastic  symptoms are faulty danger signals coming from a overly protective brain, even when we are safe. The good news is, we can retrain our brains using our conscious mind to get rid of these symptoms completely.

2. What does neuroplastic mean? What other symptoms can be neuroplastic?

Neuroplastic symptoms are symptoms caused by learned neuropathways in the brain, and are not due to structural damage or disease in the body. Any kind of chronic pain whether there was an initial injury or not, can be neuroplastic.  The list includes any kind of chronic pain, headaches/migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), long covid, sciatica, IBS, pelvic pain, CRPS, interstitial cystitis, or any symptoms lasting more than 6 months without sign of tissue damage. Click here for a more in depth look at mind body symptoms.


3. What is Pain Reprocessing Theory? How did you use it to heal if you had fatigue and not pain?

Pain Reprocessing Theory is the method created by Alan Gordon LCSW to retrain your brain out of pain and other neuroplastic symptoms . He has contributed a lot to the study of pain science and neuroplastic symptoms.  He is the author of "The Way Out" and was directly involved in Boulder Back Pain Study in Colorado.  This study was a big win for the pain science field and showed that PRT was 98% successful in improving pain and 66% successful in getting rid or nearly rid of pain.  (Other pain studies do not even include a pain free category!)  There has been a lot of research in the past 10 years on pain, and less so on chronic fatigue.  But what we now know, is that many conditions other than pain are neuroplastic and can be treated using the Pain Reprocessing Theory.


4. What is Tension Myoneural Syndrome (TMS)? 

Tension Myoneural Syndrome (TMS) is a (older but still frequently used) term coined by Dr. John Sarno, one of the pioneers in this field. It is another term used to describe neuroplastic symptoms.  Myoneural refers to the muscle and nerve junction. Other terms commonly used are Mind Body Syndrome, neural circuit pain, and psychophysiologic disorder (PPD).  I prefer the term "neuroplastic" because it's more inclusive and up to date. 


5. How do I know if my symptoms are neuroplastic?
Here is a list of questions developed by Dr. Howard Schubiner to help you determine the answer.

Rule out:

  • First, have you been diagnosed with a disorder that rules out a structural problem?  IE-fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines with no structural cause (like a tumor), tension headaches, IBS, interstitial cystitis, small fiber neuropathy, burning mouth syndrome? Once a structural problem can be ruled out, we can conclude the problem is in the brain.

  • Have you been seen by doctors but they can't find anything wrong?

  • Have you been diagnosed with a normal abnormality?

        Did you know it is considered a normal abnormal to have degenerative disc disease, bulging discs,          and herniations and not have pain?  Many doctors diagnose these as the cause of pain, when                    actually, they most likely are not the cause.

       "The vast majority of people do not have structurally caused pain. The majority of people with                chronic pain have neck or back pain.  Within that population, 85-95 % of those people do not                 have a structural disorder to cause the pain."  -Dr. Howard Schubiner

Rule In:
Are your symptoms inconsistent, there in the morning and gone in the afternoon?
Do they go away when your on vacation, spending time with friends, or relaxing but get worse when you're stressed or upset?

Do you have symmetrical pain-in both wrists or both feet for example?  There isn't a structural disorder that would cause this.  This kind of pain is neuroplastic.

Is your pain in multiple areas of the body-neck, back, and legs?  This is statistically very unlikely to be structural.

Do you have multiple symptoms-shortness of breath, fatigue, light sensitivity, GI upset?  Again, the likely hood that these symptoms are all from different physical problems is  extremely low.  It is much more statistically likely there is one underlying cause for all your symptoms-the brain.


Triggers
Do your symptoms get worse with certain foods, smells, lights, stress, weather? For example, if you have chronic back pain, do you feel it's worse when you sit in certain chairs but not others?  These are learned associations, originating in the brain and a structural problem can be ruled out. 

 


6. Why didn't my doctor tell me about neuroplastic symptoms?

Unfortunately most doctors are not educated on the most recent pain science.  Most doctors receive little education in med school on pain.  Even though this science has been around for 10 years or more, it often takes years for a paradigm shift to happen in medicine.  Many more dollars have gone towards chronic pain research than chronic fatigue. The good news is, we already have the answers we need through pain science research to heal any neuroplastic symptoms.


 

bottom of page