Chronic pain affects between one-third and one-half of the population of the UK, corresponding to just under 28 million adults. The causes are multifactorial and are therefore largely overlooked in favour of pain management.
We advertised locally for 7 chronic pain patients and had 30 applicants. We chose 7 because they were particularly interesting and/or challenging.
Each patient arrived and was examined by two of the students as the group tried to work out the origin of their chronic pain and decide on the optimal solution.
Each patient had very different problems. In total they had seen over 50 different doctors and specialists. Here are their problems, in their own words:
“In May last year I started getting a mild pain in my right hip, but more deep inside not the actual hip – mainly at night it would wake me up if I tried rolling in my sleep. This then started happening during the day mildly at first and then getting progressively worse to where I was walking with a limp. The doctors prescribed my pain killers which whilst they took the pain away they haven’t helped. I’ve since seen the following specialists – gastroenterologist, gynaecologists and rheumatologists and none of them can find a problem! Yet nearly a year later I’m still in pain daily!”
“I have had a left sacral joint pain for 3 years which also causes pain in my left hip. I have had an MRI scan but nothing was found apart from degenerating discs at level 4 and 5.”
“I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 10 years ago, and have had about 12 operations on my knees! Currently waiting to see a surgeon regarding options, also have recently seen a pain specialist.I’ve seen many physics, osteopaths, chiropractors etc over the years so happy to help! I’ve recently turned 40, I have 2 screws, I think they’re at the top of my tibia. They’ve been there about 20 years. I’ve been on lots of medication. At the moment I take naproxen, tramadol, codeine, but only occasionally as I don’t really find anything helps. Doctor wants to trial me on lyrica to see if it helps with my general pain?”
“I am a 46-year-old mother of 2. I have had a chronic lower back problem for the past 7 years. I have had everything from acupuncture, physio, osteopathic treatments. I have also had injections into my back. Somethings have helped, others less so. I live with pain on a daily basis.”
“I have a 25 year long history of sciatica which for the most part I’ve managed well and hasn’t stopped me going on walking holidays. In the last 7 years I’ve had 3 episodes of disabling pain. 3 years ago it lasted a few months, the current episode is since December and I’ve been unable to walk for longer than a few minutes.”
“I have had chronic daily migraines for over 5 years. The pain ranges from mild to severe, but I have a headache all day, everyday. I see a neurologist and there are no identifiable medical reasons for the migraines to occur the way they do. I have tried all sorts of conventional and less conventional therapies, from acupuncture to Botox. The pain is worse when I am under a lot of stress, which manifests in my neck and shoulders. If there is any chance you and your team could provide some relief, I would be forever grateful!!”
“A 19 year old male who is suffering with chronic tendinosis originally treated for tendinitis .. has been trying Graston technique recently with some improvement … “
Finding Answers to Chronic Pain
In an age when it is popular to think that there is no answer to chronic pain, the members of this group were able to us Afferent Input principles to find the cause of every one of these patient’s chronic pain and suggest real solutions to facilitate recovery, none of which involved diet and exercise (if those worked, these patients wouldn’t have still been in chronic pain). Nor did they involve pain education strategies.
Afferent Input looks for muscle weakness based on the failure of the myotatic reflex. Reflex failure will either be caused by a problem or the weakness it causes will cause a problem. Every one of these patients had a specific pattern of weakness that alerted us to the explanation of their continued suffering and allowed us to reach a conclusion as to how it might be resolved in the near future.
Patient 1 was pain-free as she got off the table for the first time in 3 years, the others have been given a specific course of action and I will report on their outcomes later.
I put these practitioners in the most challenging of environments – asking them to devise solutions for “incurable” patients under the scrutiny of their peers, but they all performed magnificently. Using Afferent Input Principles they were able to arrive at explanations and solutions for problems that had eluded many other doctors and health professionals.