PRACTICE 2: Gathering evidence

Lesson Summary

Through the neuroplastic behavior assessment, curiosity is highlighted as crucial for understanding symptom behavior and pain experience, enabling informed choices for recovery. An exercise in gathering evidence is suggested to differentiate between neuroplastic and structural symptoms:

  • Be a detective, gathering actual clues about symptom behaviour
  • Avoid assumptions and observe pain objectively
  • Recognize that pain feels the same whether neuroplastic or structural
  • Brain can induce similar sensations for various reasons, such as emotional, social or psychological danger signals

Recurrences of similar pain in areas of old injuries, osteoarthritis, or other normal degeneration in the bone and other tissues are likely neuroplastic; thus, staying curious about the FITS criteria is key in recognizing this difference. The recommendation is to document findings of neuroplastic behaviours daily, utilizing the provided list, and continuing the practice until there's no more fear of physical harm:

  • Carry the list, jot down instances of neuroplastic behaviours daily
  • Repeat the exercise until comfortable ruling out structural causes

If doubts persist about a structural origin, keep gathering evidence daily, assessing and noting FITS symptom behaviours indicative of neuroplasticity. This ongoing practice facilitates trust in physical safety and readiness for neuroplastic treatment:

  • Read over the gathered evidence when uncertain
  • Decide on continuing the exercise weekly based on progress

Here's the behavioural evidence to watch for:

Other chronic symptoms exist or pop up, like:

  • heart racing or palpitations
  • dizziness
  • tinnitus
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • foggy brain
  • difficulty with memory or attention span
  • extreme fatigue
  • insomnia
  • difficulty falling asleep or waking at the same time every night
  • poor recovery after exercise
  • muscle tension at rest, shortness of breath
  • unquenchable thirst
  • bloating
  • stomach or intestinal cramping
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • frequent urination

Symptoms follow any of these behaviours:

  • returned again after healing from an injury or surgery of more than 3 months ago
  • showed up suddenly or came on without you realizing it
  • was just there on waking one morning
  • started with no clear physical trauma or injury
  • started during a time of stress in your life
  • distributed in a pattern that is symmetric in the body
  • mirror image on the left and right side
  • on one whole side of the body
  • on half of the face, head, or torso
  • moving / spreading to different areas in the body
  • appear or disappear over days, weeks, months or seasons
  • becoming larger, smaller, or in different areas of the body throughout the day
  • occurring in many different body parts all at the same time
  • radiating to the opposite side of the body, down a whole leg(s) or arm(s)

Any of the following describe your symptoms:

  • shift from one location in the body to another (either within hours, days or weeks)
  • become more or less intense depending on the time of day, the day of the week, or season
  • occur, change in intensity, or move to different areas first thing in the morning, in the middle of the night, or at another specific time (like every Sunday evening 🙋🏻) 
  • occur after, but not during, activity or exercise 
  • show up or become more intense when you think or talk about them
  • when you're asked about them or how you're doing
  • when life stress or the anticipation of stress increases

Behavioural changes in symptoms:

  • minimal or non-existent when you're engaged in joyful or distracting activities, such as when on vacation, having fun with friends, or when not thinking about the symptoms
  • go away or feel less intense after some kind of therapy, such as massage, chiropractic, Reiki, acupuncture, an herbal or vitamin supplement, but then return again in a day or two

Are any of these triggers for your pain:

  • things that are not related to the actual symptom (like foods, smells, sounds, light, people, places, menses, memories, computer screens, changes in the weather)
  • the anticipation of stress, or during stressful situations (like before a big presentation, getting ready for work or school, booking a doctor’s visit, waiting for a medical test, a visit to a demanding relative a social gathering you don't feel up for)
  • simply imagining engaging in a triggering activity (like bending over, turning the neck, sitting, standing, driving, carrying your child, bending over to put socks on)
  • by light touch or innocuous stimuli (like restrictive clothing, the wind in your face or ears, cold air or water, or a blast of heat, a hand resting lightly on your shoulder)

Complete and Continue