This week’s Real Health episode is all about pain.
Chronic pain is something that impacts many in Ireland, with chronic back pain one of the most common forms that people suffer from.
On the show, I’ll be talking about what pain really is, our understanding of it and how some pain can be contagious.
I’m joined by doctor and clinical fellow at Oxford University, Monty Lyman, who is an expert in pain. Monty’s new book, The Painful Truth explores the world of pain. It looks at cutting-edge research, how our emotions impact the pain we experience and how hypnotherapy and virtual reality can play a role in pain relief.
Monty believes that most of us don’t fully understand pain and its purpose. He says we need to acknowledge the role of pain and by properly understanding it’s function, he says it can help in dealing with chronic, persistent cases: “Understanding that pain is trying to be a guardian angel...that it's trying to protect you, even if it is completely ruining your life...is the first step to understanding how to live with, reduce and even eliminate persistent pain.”
Apart from studying pain itself, Monty has also looked at pain relief. Not just the traditional forms of painkillers, but alternatives, like the use of virtual reality and hypnotherapy.
The latter is something he says helped him with persistent pain he was suffering from: “I was very skeptical about hypnotherapy. I had never been taught about it during medical school. I had seen some really good evidence [of] hypnotherapy [used] for a number of pain conditions. I have suffered with occasionally really bad irritable bowel syndrome since I was fifteen. I interviewed a hypnotherapist for the book who offered me a session and my IBS was completely cured...it was near miraculous.”
Monty has also examined how we can feel others' pain and how we’ve developed this ability in order to protect ourselves from experiencing the same hurt: “Research shows we’re all mirrors. If you see someone hurt whether it's in real life or in an action movie or rugby match - you see these hits and you flinch. That’s because the same areas in the brain that are activated when you experience pain yourself, are being activated.”
Don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe on Apple and Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts from.
The Real Health podcast is in association with Laya Healthcare