Rewiring Our Brains

Short of heaven, we all have to learn to live with some form of pain.

For some, emotional burdens mark our greatest struggles. For others, physical issues can pose agonizing challenges.  And, if we are really lucky, we have the opportunity to overcome both!

In his hit ‘Learn to Live,’ the great crossover artist Darius Rucker sings, “You  gotta live and learn. You gotta live and learn – so you can learn to live.”

The Wall Street Journal  this morning offered a number of valuable insights into how the mind processes pain and how chronic pain sufferers can better  learn to live with their issues. The article focuses on Stanford University research and a new project funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Yes, there really is an agency with that name.

My wife Mary handed me the article this morning, and I began dissecting it almost immediately. Within a short period, I concluded it was filled with brilliance. Why? The article author (Melinda Beck) and the researchers focused on much of what we have been sharing here at Photo-remedy (see October 3, 2011 background post).

For me, a few of the most important takeaways from The Wall Street Journal article are:

1)  There is a growing understanding that medications only offer a part of the chronic pain solution. 2) Many age old approaches are proving effective remedies. The article mentioned meditation, for example, which is in the direction of the important role prayer plays in my life. 3) Other solutions are far more high-tech. This includes major advancements in understanding how the management of activities in our brain cortexes can reduce the perception of pain. 4) Perceptions of pain are highly individualized, and are related to individual health and experiences. 5) Directing our minds away from pain is a major part of the chronic pain solution. This is, of course, why Photo-remedy is focused on the important role photography can play for those that have a love of what goes into making great pictures.

We hope you get a chance to review The Wall Street Journal article. In the meantime, keep ‘fighting with a smile.’ – Greg

Photo Credit: David R. Wright

Special Note: The photography featured in this post came from recent efforts to capture some of the fall splendor in nearby (to me) Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon (via Highway 89A from Flagstaff), and Oak Creek near Cornville. Special thanks to my good friend and co-pilot,  Dave Wright, for joining me on the Schnebly Hill portion of the journey. Additional photography is featured on our Exploration Communication website.


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