Chronic Pain

The Role of Emotions

– Royal Society of Medicine,

London 15th October 2017

SIRPA provides a cutting edge approach to help eradicate pain as well as other persistent symptoms, rather than just learning to live with it. There are many different types of pain including; RSI, persistent back pain, general chronic pain, sciatica etc.

About the Day

On 15th October 2017, SIRPA was pushing the boundaries of our understanding of the cause and treatment of chronic pain, when some of the leading lights in this pioneering field coming over from the US to present their clinical and research findings. For people with an interest in chronic pain and the mysteries of medically unexplained symptoms, this was an opportunity to learn to identify and treat the underlying causes of these persistent conditions, with the aim of enabling individuals to ‘recover’ and regain their lives.

The foundation of our approach is the pioneering work of John E Sarno MD – described as ‘America’s Best Pain Doctor’ in Forbes magazine – who found that most chronic pain is a manifestation of unresolved or avoided emotional turmoil. For over four decades, this insight enabled tens of thousands of people to recover from debilitating chronic pain and other symptoms using a non-physical, mindbody approach. Sadly Dr Sarno died in June, just a day before his 94th birthday so this conference will be in memory of this remarkable man whose work continues to evolve and change lives through his own writing and through those of us who are following on with his work.

Over the past 10 years, the pain science and evidence base has caught up to support the theory that chronic pain is a result of activated neural pathways involved in the primal ‘fight or flight’ response which form part of a protective response from the ‘threat’ of acknowledging ‘painful’ unresolved or avoided emotional turmoil/trauma. Our treatment programme has also evolved as awareness has grown and includes; education about pain science and how the fight or flight response works, understanding and changing behaviour that might unintentionally keep it turned on and working through current, and sometimes past, challenges that trigger our danger signals. Once the signals are turned off, the pain will usually improve and often resolve completely.

Speaking at this conference were three of the leading specialists in this field who explained the evidence base related to the concept and approach and our keynote speaker was award-winning science journalist Donna Jackson Nakazawa who discussed the decades of research linking adverse childhood experiences to ill-health, including chronic pain, in later life.

The Speakers

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“SIRPA’s Chronic Pain inaugural conference was inspirational. The NHS would save a fortune and peoples’ lives would be improved if the Recovery Programme was prescribed to everyone who is told by their doctor “We can’t find anything wrong with you.”

Marian Nicholson of Pain UK & Pain Alliance Europe (2015)

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“I will freely admit, having dealt with chronic pain for over 25 years, that I was very sceptical about Georgie’s work. Attending the SIRPA conference completely changed my mind! Without exaggeration the conference was one of the most interesting and enjoyable meetings I have been to for years. Here was something different that made sense of many of the anomalies that I have witnessed in pain medicine for years. The speaker presentations were of the highest quality, presenting high grade evidence and rationale scientific explanations for ACE theories. I will be very happy to support SIRPA in the future and look forward to the next conference.”

Dr Martin Johnson, Vice-President of the British Pain Society

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“I’ve rarely been at a conference where every one of the speakers held my attention so totally throughout their presentation. I learned a lot and am definitely inspired to learn more.”

Carolyn Norgate, Attendee

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“In the past seven years I have attended many events on Chronic Pain throughout Europe. I can honestly say that your event and one I attended in Brussels last November were the best I ever attended.”

John Lindsay, Chair of Chronic Pain Ireland

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

”Wow!!!….. what an amazing day. A massive congratulations to you, the speakers and your team. ALL the speakers were fantastic and I learned SO much, not only about the effects of chronic stress/pain on my patients but also how it has influenced me!!”

Yvonne Frampton, Physiotherapist Denmead

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“This is a revolution in the treatment of chronic health conditions.”

Dr Liz Croton, UK GP

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“Fascinating day with an extremely high calibre of speakers. Huge learning professionally and personally.”

Lynn Crescens Smith, Trainee in Psychodynamic Counselling

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“SIRPA’s Chronic Pain inaugural conference was inspirational. The NHS would save a fortune and peoples’ lives would be improved if the Recovery Programme was prescribed to everyone who is told by their doctor “We can’t find anything wrong with you.”

Marian Nicholson of Pain UK & Pain Alliance Europe (2015)

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“I will freely admit, having dealt with chronic pain for over 25 years, that I was very sceptical about Georgie’s work. Attending the SIRPA conference completely changed my mind! Without exaggeration the conference was one of the most interesting and enjoyable meetings I have been to for years. Here was something different that made sense of many of the anomalies that I have witnessed in pain medicine for years. The speaker presentations were of the highest quality, presenting high grade evidence and rationale scientific explanations for ACE theories. I will be very happy to support SIRPA in the future and look forward to the next conference.”

Dr Martin Johnson, Vice-President of the British Pain Society

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“I’ve rarely been at a conference where every one of the speakers held my attention so totally throughout their presentation. I learned a lot and am definitely inspired to learn more.”

Carolyn Norgate, Attendee

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“In the past seven years I have attended many events on Chronic Pain throughout Europe. I can honestly say that your event and one I attended in Brussels last November were the best I ever attended.”

John Lindsay, Chair of Chronic Pain Ireland

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

”Wow!!!….. what an amazing day. A massive congratulations to you, the speakers and your team. ALL the speakers were fantastic and I learned SO much, not only about the effects of chronic stress/pain on my patients but also how it has influenced me!!”

Yvonne Frampton, Physiotherapist Denmead

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“This is a revolution in the treatment of chronic health conditions.”

Dr Liz Croton, UK GP

Testimonials From Our 2015 & 2017 Conferences

“Fascinating day with an extremely high calibre of speakers. Huge learning professionally and personally.”

Lynn Crescens Smith, Trainee in Psychodynamic Counselling

The Evidence

Research has shown that pain perception occurs in the brain, affected by many factors including adverse experiences in childhood and later, as well as our personalities, fears and anxieties. Consistent with this concept, brain imaging has shown that once tissues have healed from an injury, if pain becomes chronic then activity in the brain moves from the cortical areas associated with the site of injury to the limbic/emotional areas. Research has also shown that whether a pain condition becomes chronic is influenced by an individual’s personality, negative pain beliefs, depressed mood and also greater exposure to past traumatic life events.

Studies have also shown no link between pain and posture, structure or biomechanics despite this myth remaining prevalent in medical practice, health education and product marketing In addition, research shows only a weak relationship between back pain and the amount of spinal degeneration found on imaging studies. There is also increasing evidence that the best outcomes for patients with chronic pain and functional illness derive from use of the biopsychosocial model rather than attempting ‘management’ of a physical problem.

The SIRPA community is part of a growing group of specialists and health professionals worldwide who recognise that chronic pain is a psychophysiological condition, often triggered and driven by sensitised, learned nerve pathways.

Full recovery is possible once the underlying emotional causes are identified and addressed. This is an exciting outcome that can revolutionise conventional care. When practitioners add this knowledge to their existing training and experience they experience the rewards of their patients achieving remarkably improved outcomes.

Contact Us

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