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The body can be 60 times stronger than morphine

9 min. reading time

Your nervous system is constantly busy regulating itself. In addition, your body produces all kinds of substances to regulate pain as well. Researchers found that our own body is up to 60 times (!) better at reducing pain than the strongest painkillers! So our own bodies and minds offer many possibilities when it comes to regulating pain symptoms.

This also explains why many people do not experience pain symptoms, while we might expect them to. For example, in a very large study on low back pain, researchers found that there is no link between back pain and pain! 

In fact, researchers have not yet been able to prove the connection between certain damage in the body and pain symptoms.   

Warning stimuli

This sounds strange, but it actually makes sense when we know how pain occurs. Stimuli travel through our bodies all day long via the nerves. These stimuli warn of possible "danger." All of these stimuli travel through your body to the brain. The brain decides whether to turn the stimuli into a danger.

The interesting thing is that the amount of danger stimuli does not determine how much pain is felt! Researchers have found that there are a lot of danger stimuli when you press a warm button on your finger, but it doesn't hurt. If they prick your finger with a needle, there are fewer danger stimuli, but it hurts! 

So the brain decides whether or not to turn a dangerous stimulus into pain. So the brain makes an assessment of how dangerous something is, and then decides whether it causes pain. And because a sharp needle is more dangerous than a lump, the brain turns the needle into pain. Despite the fact that there were less dangerous stimuli! 

Your own body stronger

How you can make pain-relieving substances yourself

If we want to do something about our own pain, we obviously need to teach the brain that there is no danger. This can be done in many different ways, and you will find new exercises and tips on this blog regularly. Some of the most important strategies are listed below:

1. Keep moving.

Keep moving, and also slowly expand your movements. The best way for your brain to learn that there is danger is to listen less to the pain. Do this in small increments or with the help of a therapist or coach. Also, when you move, your brain produces endorphins that inhibit pain.

2. Pay as little attention to the pain as possible.

Try to divert your attention to something else when you are in pain, or notice that you are preoccupied with it a lot. The less attention the pain gets, the more it fades into the background.

3. Fun

If there's one emotion that pain can't stand, it's fun. The more fun you have, the less room there is for pain. Happy substances released in the brain help with pain and make the brain create new connections faster.

4. Knowledge and patience

Pain complaints don't just show up and (therefore) don't just go away. Knowing how pain works is a proven effective strategy for pain reduction. It just takes a while. Keep diving into the pain, and don't get discouraged if it doesn't want to or if the pain gets worse for a while. Remember that if you fight, your pain will fight back. Your pain rightly thinks it is protecting you, and will do everything it can to keep it that way when you start working with it yourself. 

The body can be 60 times stronger than morphine

More guidance on how to decrease your pain