In a perfect world, our bodies are completely able to heal themselves. Our autonomic nervous system ensures that! Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, so our bodies often need some help to heal themselves fully.
For instance, chronic pain may show up as a result of an injury, a neurological disorder, or various medical conditions.
Living with chronic pain is exhausting and debilitating. It affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally and can lead to feelings of hopelessness and depression. But managing chronic pain with opioids can also lead to life-threatening addiction, as shown in this literature review. It’s a difficult choice!
In this article, therefore, we’ll focus on how autonomic nervous system dysregulation can trigger chronic pain and how bioenergetic therapy can fix the problem.
Autonomic Nervous System Function
One of the ways your body regulates pain is via the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Your ANS is a complex network of cells that regulates and supports many different internal processes.
Your nervous system depends on cellular communication to send and receive chemical and electrical signals throughout your body. It consists of two main parts:
- the central nervous system and
- the peripheral nervous system.
The ANS is part of the latter. It influences the activity of many organs, including the stomach, heart, and lungs. Crucially, and relevant to this discussion, your ANS contains two subsystems:
- The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) prepares your body to react to something in its environment. The SNS is associated with the fight-or-flight stress response.
- The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) regulates bodily functions when you’re at rest. The PNS is associated with rest and digest responses.
Autonomic Nervous System Dysregulation
More and more research shows that the underlying cause of some chronic pain is autonomic dysregulation, an overactive stress state in the brain and nervous system.
If your sympathetic nervous system is on overdrive, your body will stay in a consistent state of fight or flight.
Unfortunately, this will also cause your parasympathetic nervous system to underperform, leading to problems and conditions associated with bodily functions.
Strategies to Harmonize Your Autonomic Nervous System
Parasympathetic nerve system regulation returns your body to a state of homeostasis (balance) that contributes to wellbeing, improved health, and an anti-inflammatory state.
One of the PNS’s essential functions is therefore to shut off the fight-or-flight response. There’s a secret to doing this: the vagus nerve. This nerve lives in your parasympathetic nervous system and has the task of inducing a relaxation response.
You’ll find that practices like Tai Chi and meditation are useful in stimulating the vagus nerve to perform its task! As are other self-calming tactics, such as sorting, slow breathing, and coloring a mandala – which you can also encourage children to undertake when they need to self-calm!
How Microcurrent Therapy Assists in Regulating the ANS
We accept that when you’re in pain, it’s challenging to get into a meditative state of mind. This is where bioenergetic and microcurrent therapies can be useful to support your body’s healing process.
Microcurrent technology has been proven to regulate the autonomic nervous system and fight chronic pain. How? By applying microcurrent therapy to therapeutic points (like acupuncture and trigger points). This can
- relax muscles,
- stimulate the vagus nerve,
- calm the nervous system, and
- encourage the release of endorphins.
Would you like to learn more about how bioenergetics can assist your body’s autonomic nervous system in healing chronic pain? Contact us at Thorp Institute for a free discussion.
Disclaimer: New wellness treatments and technology described or suggested in this article are non-FDA approved. All content and information here is for educational purposes and does not constitute medical advice, and does not establish a client-patient relationship with you by your use of information in this article. A client-patient relationship with you is formed only after we have expressly entered into a signed agreement with you that includes a fee structure and terms that represent you in a specific manner.