Resource Elements

  1. A brief look at chronic pain concepts underlying the Pain Revolution in Australia, a program to bring pain science-based concepts to the vast rural areas of the country.
  2. An example of a changed life, from immobile to fully employed, associated with mastering pain science-based concepts and practices.
  3. Changing perceptions of threat and danger, to safety, calm, fun and joyful changes chronic pain.
  1. For 20 years, taking pills, minimizing movement, and trying out a variety of therapy approaches didn’t resolve the pain.
  2. Focusing on what he recognized as ‘Danger in Me’ and ‘Safety in Me’ concepts enabled him to identify when/why his pain experiences pain occurred and what to do about the pain.
  3. Stress induced by others or himself is related to the perception of ‘Danger in Me’ is associated with his chronic pain.
  4. Stress calming aspects produced by himself or by others, promoted the sense of ‘Safety in Me’, that reduced his chronic pain.

For 20 years Australian Trevor Barker took pills, minimized his movement, tried out various therapies, and was tested by numerous clinicians and specialists to help him deal with pain that started in his lower back and eventually spread all over his body. Instead of “failed low back surgery syndrome,” he self-diagnosed “TRMS” (Therapy Resistant Muscle Syndrome) and “PMS” (Poor Me Syndrome).

Participation in a three-week inpatient pain clinic enabled him to gradually taper off pain medication completely. And several months later he heard David Butler talk about DIM/SIM Therapy at a “Pain Revolution” event. His life changed as he applied these ideas and experiences. Instead of ending up living in a nursing home–as he had been expecting–Mr. Barker re-married, resumed work full time, and has built an “indoor rainforest” to enjoy.

DIM/SIM Therapy stands for “Danger in Me” and “Safety in Me.” When people are stressed and worried, pain increases in response to a sense of danger. Calming an oversensitive pain system dials down pain levels that we experience as we feel safer and safer.

So, what do we do with the DIMs in our life? The dangers in me? It is possible to reflect on what they are and just think about what they are. He was able to change his DIM-“move, and you’ll be in a whole lot of pain–“into a SIM by understanding that “moving is safe and helpful to me.” Now he has identified a very long list of what is safety in me.

When we identify our DIMs, the danger in me is often related to other people’s stress. As he set out to identify his SIMs, he realized they are anything that gives him a calm, safe, fun, joyful time. His SIMs include sitting in his beautiful rainforest, having a cup of coffee or tea with his wife, unwinding and relaxing, warm water exercise, walking, going to work, being with family, and volunteering. There are many things that we can do that are SIMs.

The application of DIMs and SIMs really works on calming down our oversensitive pain system in a very practical way. Stress blocks the production of our happy hormones and calm releases them.

After asking “What are our ideas that generate SIMs?”, he provided some real-life examples that occurred shortly before his wedding: (1) Being unable to drive his car because his right leg “just decided to stop working” and he was in incredible pain. He called a friend who said, “Trevor, do you think you might be a bit stressed?” His leg got better quite quickly. (2) He needed two fillings, one on each side of his mouth. By using anesthesia, the dentist could do the fillings one at a time over a six week period or get them both done right away without anesthesia. He told himself, “Well, let’s give this DIM/SIM theory ‘a real red hot go’–No needle.” He sat back in the dentist chair and told himself, “This bloke knows what he is doing. He’s alright. This is safe. I’m okay. And this is good for me.” As the dentist started drilling, he had a gentle rubbing sensation.  Then halfway through getting drilled, he felt a “lightning bolt of pain” that seemed like “a joke on himself–my brain telling me that, ‘Yeah, we know something’s going on here’.” Getting the fillings finished all at once really worked out well for him.

Per Mr. Barker’s report, he learned that applying some self-management to his situation, taking responsibility, getting support, and calming down that oversensitive pain system really makes a big difference. His encouragement to people living with pain and to clinicians is to take a really good look at DIM/SIM Therapy and enjoy life. “Just great to talk with you.”

Please click on the link to open this 7-page PDF in a new widow: 1017-Dim-Sim-Therapy

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