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Navigating Chronic Pain: A Journey Through Understanding And Management

Navigating Chronic Pain: A Journey Through Understanding and Management By Dr Joseph Perese (Chiropractor)


Chronic pain, a complex and often misunderstood condition, impacts countless lives. However, Professor Lorimer Moseley’s pioneering research illuminates the path to managing it effectively. His insights offer a fresh perspective on pain, emphasising the intricate relationship between the mind, body, and perceptions.

The Mind-Body Connection

At the core of Moseley’s teachings is that our body is more akin to a garden than a machine –a living, interconnected organism. This view challenges us to consider how our emotional and psychological state directly impacts physical health. For instance, how we perceive and relate to our limbs can influence their immune function and blood flow. This holistic approach underscores the importance of treating the mind and body in chronic pain management.

Understanding Pain Beyond the Physical

Chronic pain often leads to a heightened nervous system sensitivity, a condition known as central sensitisation. This means that pain can be triggered or intensified not just by physical issues but also by psychological factors like fear, anxiety, and stress. Understanding this can help individuals and clinicians approach pain management more effectively, recognising that alleviating psychological stressors is as crucial as addressing physical ailments.

The Role of Movement and Exercise

Movement and exercise play a pivotal role in managing chronic pain. Moseley advocates for the power of gentle, purposeful movements to combat pain. The idea is not to avoid pain-related activity but to find a balance–engaging in moderate, non-aggravating exercises that do not lead to flare-ups. This approach also helps break the common misconception that pain is always a direct indicator of harm, encouraging individuals to differentiate between discomfort and actual damage.

Rethinking Pain and Its Causes

One of the most profound insights from Moseley’s work is the understanding that pain is not a direct measure of tissue damage. This rethinking challenges traditional views, such as believing that ‘slipped discs‘ cause back pain. By recognising that pain can exist without direct tissue damage, individuals can approach their pain with a new perspective, focusing more on holistic recovery than on pinpointing and fixing a specific physical ailment.

A Collaborative Approach

Effective chronic pain management is a collaborative journey between patients and healthcare providers. It involves medical treatment, patient education, understanding, and reassurance. Healthcare providers play a crucial role in shaping pain outcomes through their beliefs and the expectations they set with their patients. Simultaneously, patients are encouraged to engage actively in their recovery, understanding their pain through the lens of contemporary science.

A Path Forward

Finally, it’s essential to recognise that pain is a deeply personal experience. It’s not just a symptom to be treated but a complex interplay of the brain, body, and mind. Everyone’s experience with pain is unique and influenced by their life experiences, emotional state, and environment.

Chronic pain management is not a one-size-fits-all solution but a journey of understanding, adaptation, and proactive management. By embracing Professor Moseley’s research insights and understanding the complex nature of pain, individuals can find more effective and empowering ways to manage their condition. This journey is about alleviating symptoms and enhancing overall well-being and quality of life.


Moseley G. L. (2012). Teaching people about pain: why do we keep beating around the bush?.Pain management,2(1), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.2217/pmt.11.73

Moseley, G. L., & Butler, D. S. (2015). Fifteen Years of Explaining Pain: The Past, Present, and Future.The journal of pain,16(9), 807–813. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2015.05.005

Moseley, G.L., Leake, H. B., Beetsma, A. J., Watson, J. A., Butler, D. S., van der Mee, A., Stinson, J. N., Harvie, D., Palermo, T. M., Meeus, M., & Ryan, C. G. (2023). Teaching Patients About Pain: The Emergence of Pain Science Education, its Learning Frameworks and Delivery Strategies.The journal of pain, S1526-5900(23)00618-1. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2023.11.008

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