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Title: Understanding chronic pain in a lifestyle context: the emergence of a whole person approach.
Authors: Hayes C 
Naylor R
Egger G
Keywords: Chronic Pain
systemic inflammation
Pain Management
whole person
Issue Date: 2012
Source: 6(5):421-429
Journal Title: American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Abstract: This article reviews both traditional and emerging aspects of pain medicine within the context of a “whole-person,” lifestyle-based approach. This is consistent with contemporary systems theory formulations of chronic disease in general. A traditional approach sees ongoing pain as a fixed biological disorder and much of its management as the task of medically palliating or learning to cope. Within this framework, chronic pain has been conceptualized by some authors as a disease in its own right based on underlying alterations in nervous system processing. This explains the stronger correlation of chronic pain with neural sensitization than with structural change in bodily tissues. However, recent research findings are expanding current views of causation and management, and there is now a growing recognition that pain-related nervous system changes are potentially reversible. The so-called paradox of plasticity proposes that the same property of changeability in the nervous system that allows chronic pain to develop can also lead to its resolution. Nutrition and personal story are key aspects of an emerging whole-person approach and can be combined with traditional biomedical and cognitive behavioral interventions to enhance therapeutic gains. An interesting hypothesis deriving from recent research is that multiple unhelpful aspects of lifestyle contribute to systemic metaflammation, which in turn spills over to sensitize the nervous system and facilitate pain-related transmission. Therefore, addressing lifestyle factors therapeutically has the potential to desensitize the nervous system and reduce pain.
DOI: 10.1177/1559827612439282
Type: Journal Article
Study/Trial: Editorial
Appears in Collections:Scholarly and Clinical

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