palm trees and sky

Hello from Florida! I never thought I’d be able to travel in an airplane again, due to symptoms that I recently discovered were due to chronic pain. And yet here I am. In sunny and very hot and very humid Florida, visiting family. My first vacation in over four years. And I’m perfectly well.

I used to have post-concussion syndrome, which caused me to have severe symptoms that hindered me from doing major life activities like driving, reading, watching TV, talking on the phone, and being in a moving vehicle. Not long ago, I started using an app, and I was cured in five days. Four years of illness, and five days of recovery.

How did this happen?!

Chronic Pain Clues

My psychiatrist suggested that I had chronic pain. He prescribed a medication, which helped a bit. I was no longer having ten-day episodes of symptoms. Now symptoms, like headaches and dizziness, passed in a few days.

Then I went back to my concussion doctor. He suggested that I had neck strain that was causing my symptoms. So he prescribed neck strength exercises. He also suggested that there was a psychological component, and he recommended that I see the psychologist connected with the clinic. I made an appointment with her for two weeks later.

That evening, I decided there was nothing wrong with my neck. I was starting to be persuaded that the problem was psychological, even though I was going to therapy and that didn’t seem to help. But I remembered what my psychiatrist said and started looking on my phone for information about chronic pain.

I found some chronic pain podcasts. One of them was sponsored by an app called Curable: an app for chronic pain. I researched the app, and independent reviews looked promising. So I downloaded the app.

I also bought some books on chronic pain. But before the books had a chance to arrive at my home, and before I had a chance to go to the appointment with the psychologist, Curable had already cured me. It’s my miracle app. And it’s heavily steeped in neuroscience research. (I am not affiliated with Curable in any way.)

What Is Chronic Pain?

As it turns out, I didn’t understand what “chronic pain” meant, and I needed the app to educate me. That’s the first thing the app does—educate the user about chronic pain—and it does this through a series of very short podcasts. I learned that understanding what chronic pain is is the first step toward healing.

Another term for chronic pain is “mind body syndrome.” I like that term better because chronic pain does not have to be chronic, and it also does not have to be pain. Hence my confusion. What chronic pain and mind body syndrome mean is that the brain is creating symptoms where the cause is not physical, but mental. And the mental cause is fear, and it is a fear based in the unconscious mind, of which the conscious mind may not even be aware.

When I got hit in the head four years ago, I got a concussion, and my concussion was real. I had severe symptoms for months. But also, mixed in with my symptoms based on real tissue damage, was chronic pain, which manifested as headaches and dizziness. The pain from the headaches, and the dizzy spells from the dizziness, were real. And they felt exactly the same as my concussion symptoms. But they were based on a different source, namely, my fear of my concussion symptoms. My chronic pain symptoms continued long after the tissue in my brain had healed.

Many doctors don’t know much, if anything, about chronic pain. Even doctors who do know about chronic pain often don’t know that it can be cured. Hence the frustration of the physical and mental health professionals I consulted about my enduring symptoms.

Much of the key research on chronic pain has been done in the past ten years or so, and the new findings have not had a chance to trickle into the medical establishment.

But I’m here to help spread the word. Note that symptoms like pain and dizziness are not always caused by mind body syndrome (chronic pain). But if they have gone on longer than seems probable, they may well be brain/fear related instead of body/tissue related.

My Chronic Pain Breakthrough

My breakthrough moment came when I was listening to a podcast on the Curable app. A doctor was walking a patient through the process of reducing her back pain by changing the current experience of her brain from a feeling of fear to a feeling of safety. At the same time, I knew that I would get a headache soon, because I had been listening to podcasts for a long time that evening. Lo and behold, I started to get a headache. But I decided to try what the doctor was having the patient do. And I listened closely to my body. . . .

. . . . And I was astonished to discover pure fear, just as my headache came on. Previously, I had not realized that I was feeling fear, or that fear was triggering the symptom.

By using the techniques I learned through the app, I was able to reduce, but not entirely eliminate, my headache that evening. However, I was able to reduce it enough that it was not a problem, and I could continue listening.

I had the confidence that my headache would not get worse, and that was exactly what I needed for my headache not to get worse.

The next day, I confidently watched TV for an hour longer than I thought I should have been able to, with no headache at all.

For a few days, I had mild spells, but nothing major, and nothing that I couldn’t wish away within a few seconds. After that, I had no symptoms at all.

All props to the Curable app. In addition to the features I mentioned, it also contains podcasts in which people who have been cured are interviewed, which helps users believe it could happen for them, too; meditations to help calm the fear response; brain training exercises to help reprogram the brain; and writing exercises to help the user grapple with past and present traumas that may be exacerbating the fear response. I thought the app was perfectly designed, and all of its features were helpful and easy to use.

I highly recommend the Curable app to anyone who has mysterious symptoms. The brain is a sneaky beast.

Do dreams come true?