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Haims: New research is changing how we address pain

Judson Haims
For the past couple of months, Judson Haims, the owner of Visiting Angels, has sat with Howard Head Sports Medicine's physical therapists Doug Emerson and Elie (Hsu) Sabins to learn about how new pain research is being integrated into the physical therapy practices at Howard Head. The following is part of the first installment in a series of columns addressing pain.

There is no such thing as a “pain receptor” in our body. Pain is produced within our brain and it is our brain that determines our pain threshold and experience. Fortunately, we have the ability to retrain our brain how to interpret pain. We can retrain our brain to control pain and, by changing our understanding of pain, we can better manage it. Pain is nothing more than information. Unfortunately, we have been taught that pain is a bad thing — something to avoid and to be feared. However, consider an athlete’s relationship with pain. Athletes break through various thresholds of pain during training and thus systematically improve their abilities. We too can improve our abilities. We just need to rethink what we know about pain. Over the next few columns, I will provide information from people who specialize in the study of pain.

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