Pain! Is that okay?

Pain! Is that okay?

8 min. reading time


Louis Zantema

5 January 2020

Louis is a GZ-Psychologist with a great passion for gaming. For him, a game training that offers therapy is the most valuable thing you can develop: especially for pain complaints, which are on the interesting intersection of body and mind. His aim is to make himself dispensable as a therapist.

Brandon's coming into my consulting room. He opens his mouth and declares: 'I have bad news for the pharmaceutical industry'. Why is that? I ask him. Well, I've reduced 70% of my morphine in the last three weeks,' he says with pride. 

Maybe you live with pain, or you know people like Brandon. Chronic pain is the reality for 1.5 billion people worldwide. It is also one of the main causes of unemployment.  And that's not the end of the story. In addition to the fact that the pain itself is a serious problem, the lack of proper treatment options and the medicalisation of the pain have set in motion what is now called 'the pain epidemic'. 

Shouldn't anyone suffer any more pain?


The cultural notion that 'no one should suffer from pain' has spread. Started in the United States in the 1990s, we see a vision that has led to severe medicalization. In the attempts to 'get rid of all pain', the prescription of pain medicines has taken off. This led to an estimated 42,000 deaths per year in the US alone in 2016. Operations with limited evidence took place so often that failed surgery syndrome became a real thing. This is chronic pain in which (too many) operations play a role. Our cultural view on pain has shifted from a problem that we could solve on our own, to a problem that should mainly be solved by someone or something else. 


Fortunately, we see a shift in perspective. People are beginning to realise that the rapid resolution of complex problems and the medicalisation of pain has not led to sustainable solutions. The evidence that you can reduce pain by teaching people how their pain works and by training them to deal with it is growing. Become the owner of the pain problem and train yourself to get out of it. This not only reduces the pain, but also makes life more valuable again.


What if medication does not offer a long-term solution?


The question then is: how do you train pain easily and accessible? This can be done in different ways. An example is this blog, by finding a good (physiotherapist) or by taking on certain activities together with friends that are both fun and good for your condition. In line with our mission to educate and train people with chronic pain worldwide, we have made a digital journey ourselves. A journey through our own nervous system, which takes place in Virtual Reality. Teaching about pain, but even more important: active training and rewiring of the brain to perceive pain differently. To regain skills that give people back control of pain and get their problems back in their hands. Using Virtual Reality to optimize the influence of training on the emotional parts of our brain. 


Brandon was one of the first to benefit from Reducept, but will certainly not be the last. On to a future in which we ourselves will regain control over the pain. 


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