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The 2024 Global Year will examine what is known about sex and gender differences in pain perception and modulation and address sex-and gender-related disparities in both the research and treatment of pain.

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Here is an email I got from Rebecca Erlewein.  I love stories like hers because they show an impressive degree of self-awareness and they reveal, first hand, what I reckon is going on in the brain of many people who being to understand how complex pain REALLY is, and how complex we REALLY are, and how GROOVY the whole thing is…..Anyway, here are her pearls of wisdom. Thanks Rebecca….

Dear Mr Moseley,

I have recently enjoyed reading your Explain Pain and Painful Yarns book and have benefitted greatly from it in terms of managing my own chronic / recurring butt and leg pain (which first appeared three years ago without any physical injury but plenty of emotional stress).

The reason I’m writing to you is that I’ve found a neat application of the theories presented in your book which may be of interest to you and your patients / students.

I often get a brief onrush of (strong) pain a few seconds after changing a position or mode of movement in which I’ve been for a while, e.g. getting up from sitting, or shifting weight after sitting for a while, or beginning walking after standing for a while. So bearing in mind the theory that the brain signals DANGER, I thought that maybe my brain somehow was getting freaked out about the change, and, just in case this really is dangerous, signaled pain.

Thus, I began simply talking to my brain in my thoughts what was happening, so that it’d know and feel less reason to freak out. My internal dialogue (monologue?) goes a bit like this: “OK, brain, I’m getting ready to stand up from sitting now, I’m standing up now. I’m standing now, I’m beginning to walk now, I’m walking now.”

And you’ll probably not be surprised to hear that I am getting much less pain. Initially I was still getting quite a strong “sensation” in the same spots that previously were painful, but not pain as such. And even the strong sensation has started to go down now.

I hope this is of use for you.

Kind regards,

Rebecca Erlewein

Rebecca practices acupuncture in Wellington, New Zealand.

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