Monthly Archives: April 2015

Pain is A Sensation and A Perception


Pain was once believed to be very simple, the first theory of pain came from Louise Descartes, the man quoted for saying I think therefore I am. Descartes theory was proposed in the 17th century and is still basically used today. You put your big toe into the fire the information goes up the spinal cord to the brain and we scream and withdraw the toe from the fire. It’s a direct line from here to there. So the thought was that if it were a direct line you could cut it and the pain would stop, similar to the old phones, if you cut the cord the conversation was over. So they cut here and here and the pain did not usually go away. Then they figured out there was an emotional component to pain, so the neurosurgeons figured well cut out the frontal lobe and remove the emotions and the pain will go away and that did not work either. Scientists and doctors are now figuring out that pain is very complex.

How many of you have experienced pain? Pain is a physical sensation that may or may not go along with tissue damage and pain can be an emotional sensation. Is there anyone feeling some sensation of pain right now? By looking at (name) can you tell his in pain? Can you estimate what level of pain (name) is in? (name) on a scale of 1-10 one being a sight sensation of pain and 10 being the worst pain you have ever had, what is your pain right now? Do you believe him?

Pain is a very complex experience, you can’t see it and it’s different for everyone. We have no idea what (name) is feeling right now. As a nurse I was taught that pain is whatever the patient says it is. You can have two patients who have gone through identical procedures and one is have pain of 4 and the other one is a 10.

What makes pain so complex and individual is our perception of pain.

Perception has everything to do with how much pain we have and how long it lasts. There are many factors effecting our perception:

Experience and expectations: At four years old you may see a candle lit for the first time, and your eyes light up and you wonder what the pretty red flickering light is. Oooohhhh, aaawwee. You get closer, at this point you have no experience to tell you this is going to cause pain if I touch it. The brain does not perceive this as a threat, until you touch it. Receptions race information to the brain, sirens go off DANGER, Danger, retreat, get the mommy. The next time you see it you know what to expect you have experience, and your perception is totally different.

On the other side of this same scenario have you seen firewalkers? I chose to have this experience, and while they are burning the wood to make the coals you will walk on, you are going through a process to show you anything is possible. Your breaking wood with your hands, bending rebar in the crease of your neck, by the time the coals are ready most of the people in the group are so pumped up, it feels like there is nothing you can’t do. And so you walk, no pain, you can feel the coarseness of the coals under your feet but I did not feel pain nor did I get burnt. But the people, who hesitated and were sure they would get burnt, did. These really were hot burning wood coals. Perception, experience, and expectation.

Motivation is another factor in perception, athletes will perform through pain, to get the goal, finish a race. What is the achievement motto, no pain no gain. There are stories of unbelievable sales and women ignoring labor pains to get their purchases.

Reward and punishment, have you ever seen a child do something that clear should hurt but with the dad may just shake it off but with the mom may cry? Why because mom may reward with kisses, a treat, love. And dad may tell they to suck it up, don’t be a baby.

Culture, religion, and sex, are also factor in perceptions of pain. As a nurse you need to know that many cultures will not tell you that they are having pain, many religions believe that sacrifice and enduring pain brings you closer to God. Men are generally brought up to be demeaned for showing pain like in the scenario of reward and punishment.

A huge part of perception is our mental and emotional status, how stressed out are you? Are you on your last nerve? I use to say to my kids when I was really stressed out, you’re on my last nerve, and they knew not to push me any further. And if you are so stressed out and you’re on your last nerve and you stub your toe, doesn’t it hurt more then when you’re not stressed, the expletives come out, and you might even cry because it hurts so badly. It’s because the alarms have already been going off, Danger, Danger, it intensifies the pain. When you’re not stressed, you may stub your toe and you say oh darn it and you just go on with what you were doing.

Pain is very complicated, and it’s different for everyone because their perceptions of pain are different. If you expect it to hurt, chances are it’s going to hurt, if there’s motivation to get beyond the pain and finish you probably will finish and then the pain will hit, if you generally get a cookie for a booboo you may cry harder to get two, if their disapproval with showing pain you learn to such it up. And if you’re on your last nerve, stop where you are, because there’s a hot wheels waiting to take you down.

Tina Michaud-Gray, Integrative Pain and Rehabilitation Specialist, RN, LMT, SILC, CH
New England Rapid Recovery Center

“Fast Track Healing” — Integrated Post-surgical and Injury Rehab in “Half the Time”


Posted on April 22, 2015 by Earthing Institute

Integrative pain and rehabilitation specialist Tina Michaud-Gray, R.N., says she has discovered a formidable recipe for healing injuries and surgery in half the normal time.

Tina’s recipe features three main ingredients:

1) Specific frequencies of cold laser to rapidly promote tissue healing.

2) Ondamed, a biofeedback therapy utilizing auditory and visual signals to improve cellular communication, circulation, and pain relief.

3) Earthing.

Tina applies the first two treatments daily to her patients, frequently during home visits, for the first seven to ten days following injury or surgery. During this period they are grounded as close to around-the-clock as possible.

“Mother Earth provides the foundation for the quick bounce back, supplying a powerful anti-inflammatory effect while enhancing the effects of the laser and PEMF to do their repair work,” she says.

Typically, patients use an Earthing mat applied over, or as close to, the injury or surgical site as possible. Sometimes she will use Earthing patches, but she finds that the mat can cover a greater area and achieve better results. Depending on the location of the injury/surgical site, she may cut down the mat to better accommodate the adjacent contours of the body.

Tina has worked with patients who have undergone a wide variety of surgeries, including C-sections, tummy tucks, breast, and uterine, as well as plastic surgery, rotator cuff, and knee and other joint replacement operations. Similarly, her injury patients include different kinds of sports and non-sports trauma.

“This approach quickly takes down inflammation and pain, and substantially accelerates tissue healing within a week to ten days that would otherwise take about two months,” she says. “I’ve applied this integrated method since 2010 on about a hundred patients and the results have been consistent. The pain reduction and tissue healing are remarkable. Doctors are astounded.”

In her daily routine, Tina may make one or two home visits in addition to seeing patients further along in the healing process in her Dover NH and Andover MA offices.

“The first time, I may see them in my office right after they leave the hospital or treatment clinic, or I may literally follow them home and get the process started there. Depends on the situation.

“A home-visit method appeals mostly to highly motivated and compliant patients. These are individuals able to afford the extra level of care, and who need to recover much faster than normal, that is, need to get back as fast as possible to work or caring for family, or, if they are athletes, get back into training, Some of the costs are covered by flex spending accounts.”

“Fast Track” Cases

Tina describes her most extreme case as a 74-year-old woman with a serious medical history of heart disease, cancer, and years of using steroid medication that had compromised her immune system. Following bilateral breast reduction surgery, one of the woman’s nipples had started turning necrotic – that is, the tissue was deteriorating and dying. Applying the integrated treatment not only saved the threatened nipple but enabled the woman to make an “amazing recovery.”

According to Tina, the surgical bruising was gone in large part within one week. Normally signs of bruising last for 6 to 8 weeks. She was able to step pain medication within 4 days. Her daughter, a physician’s assistant, had planned on helping her mother recover for 2 weeks but she was only needed for 1.

Here are other examples of “fast track healing:”

A 48-year-old woman underwent a cervical discectomy and fusion. This means there are 2 surgical sites. Bone tissue is removed from the hip to support the cervical vertebra after removal of the disc. For most people, signs of scarring remain in both locations. After 4 days, the patient was off pain medication. The incisions on the hip and neck were completely healed in 1 week with no sign of scarring after 2 weeks.

Female triathlete, torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while skiing. She feared she would miss the upcoming triathlon season. She didn’t. A torn ACL is a common knee injury among athletes. Following ACL repair surgery, she was able to stop medication in 3 days. Her mobility increased daily with full range of motion and no pain after day 7. ACL surgery like this generally involves a 6 to 8 week recovery. At her 1-week checkup, the surgeon could hardly believe how limber she was and commented that her scarring was more like months old instead of 1-week old.

A 52-year-old male, rotator cuff surgery. After first treatment, the day after surgery, he was able to stop pain medication. At his 2 week checkup, he was wearing his sling only a few hours a day. Normally, a patient requires sling for up to 6 to 8 weeks. His range of motion after 5 treatments was so good that he was back swimming.

A 42-year-old woman, fibroid removal surgery (myomectomy). The daily treatments substantially reduced pain and swelling over the first 3 days, allowing her to move around and discontinue the narcotic pain medication. Generally, such pain meds are used for about 2 weeks. She continued with Tylenol as needed. She was able to care for her 2-year-old, and her husband able to return to work in 1 week. She was back to work herself after 2 weeks instead of 6 to 8 weeks. At her post-operative appointment, the doctor was stunned at how well she could move around and how quickly her body was healing.

A 38-year-old woman, hysterectomy. She was able to discontinue pain medication in 1 ½ days, and back to work in 1 ½ weeks. As a single mom, getting back to work ASAP was very important for her. Normally someone like this would take medication for about 8 to 14 days and not be able to return to work for perhaps 8 weeks.

“I believe this protocol can provide a new and promising opportunity for nurses,” Tina says. “To be able to come into a post-surgical and injury situation and achieve healing in half the time represents a huge benefit for patients and a big cost-saving prospect for healthcare. This is very exciting, and I have already started to train other health professionals.”

Tina developed her healing strategy before having major fibroid removal surgery in 2009. Here’s her story:

“I work for myself. I am a single mom. I didn’t have eight-weeks for a normal recovery. I told my gynecologist beforehand that I thought I would be able to recover in two-weeks. He humored me and basically dismissed it. Two weeks after surgery I returned to see him. I was there waiting in a chair. He asked if I needed help to get up. I said no. I got right up and easily walked to his examination table and jumped up onto the table. There was no scarring. My incisions were healed. He was able to palpate with no discomfort on my part. He was very surprised, to say the least.”

Tina, 46, is also a licensed massage therapist, and often applies massage techniques in her healing program. For more than ten years she has stayed grounded for a good portion of her work day and also sleeps grounded. She now specializes in pain and rehabilitation, and doesn’t do as many massages as before. When she does, however, she works barefoot on Earthing mats that she placed on the floor around her massage table.

“My massage work includes sessions up to five hours long for elite athlete clients. These are very large and muscular men. Thanks to Earthing, my energy and endurance levels are incredible. I can handle this and do much more than I would normally be able to do,” she says.

“With Earthing, I am continuously healing,” she says.

Tina’s website is

To learn about how Earthing accelerates healing from sports injuries, read this article.

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“Fast Track Healing” — Integrated Post-surgical and Injury Rehab in “Half the Time”