Here are some of the questions we get asked about the SIRPA Approach and our honest answers.
Our approach to resolving chronic pain is ground-breaking and supported by academic research, but it’s not right for everyone. So we’ve done our best to provide enough information below to help you make the best decision for yourself.
1) "I have spent a fortune on treatments over the years. I just can’t keep throwing my money away and not recover. How much is this going to cost me?"
Some people recover merely from just listening/reading my book and following the advice found there, so we are talking as little as £9.95 to learn about something that could potentially change your life! It is possible that you might require the online programme and in fact I believe that would help anyone to live a more full life, whether or not they have pain. When you consider £187 for the online programme though, compared with just one spinal injection or a visit to a Specialist, I would suggest it is very cost-effective. In fact I believe in the programme so much that I offer a 100% money-back guarantee – not based on whether you are 100% better by the end, but if you feel it was a complete waste of money. If you feel you would benefit from individual support and guidance, the cost will vary depending on which Practitioner you decide to see and what your requirements are. Every SIRPA Practitioner would be happy to discuss this with you when you contact them.
2) "How do I make an appointment?"
3) "I just can’t believe that my mind or my brain can possibly be causing me such severe pain. Surely there must be something physically wrong for me to be in this much pain?"
Our bodies are much more robust than most people give them credit for, plus numerous studies over the past 20 years have demonstrated that actually there is very little to link poor posture, structure and biomechanics with musculoskeletal pain. Chronic pain is as result of our body’s automatic, unconscious and primitive survival response to a threat. We might not face many life-threatening occasions these days, but this is our central nervous system trying to protect us and the more potent the threat (perceived stress), the more extreme the response (pain). You might also find this infographic helpful.
4) "My MRI scans showed that there is some degeneration, including a slipped disc, so how can you say that this isn’t causing my pain?"
There are numerous studies demonstrating that just as many people who don’t have pain have degeneration. This is a normal sign of ageing and rarely linked to pain, as I have seen time after time over the years and as these studies concluded.
5) "When my pain came on I wasn’t feeling stressed, so maybe my pain is real?"
Your pain is real even if it is emotionally-induced I can assure you. I would suggest that if any tissue-damaging cause has been ruled out (such as cancer, infection, fracture and auto-immune disorders) then you can almost guarantee chronic pain will be stress-induced. It is very common, just poorly understood. It has been said that our perceived stress is only 10% what happens to us and 90% how we deal with it. This is where our personality traits, attitudes, learned beliefs and behaviours come into play, but we can modify these. Pain can also be caused by some innocuous event which you can’t consciously remember, but which might be something that triggered a past emotional memory. It might be related to an issue that your brain perceives to be ‘dangerous’ or ‘inappropriate’ and therefore our survival response (and the neural pathways involved) can be triggered to ‘protect’ us from even being aware of it.
6) "My pain came on while I was on holiday, so how can that be stress-induced?"
Often pain does come on when our ‘defences’ are down and we finally relax after a very busy time, or even as thoughts about returning to work or a difficult situation begin to surface.
7) "I know I was pretty stressed when my back began to hurt, but I’m not now and yet I can’t seem to get rid of the pain. Why is that?"
Unfortunately the fears and frustrations related to the pain and trying to get better then drive the cycle of pain. Neural pathways become learned and it has been shown that the nerves become sensitised, so they are more easily triggered. In this case it is often best to use strategies to help break the cycle as well as identify any relevant triggers (past and present) and deal with these.
8) "I hurt my back while I was decorating my son’s house 6 months ago but it hasn’t gone away. Surely I must have damaged it and that’s why it’s no better?"
Even if there had been any injury it would have healed in weeks, not continuing months later. It is more likely that there was some inner turmoil going on while you were decorating. This could have been related to you doing something you felt you ‘ought to do’ rather than wanted to do, some other resentment about doing it, the triggering of an unresolved past issue or just that you had an awful lot on anyway.
9) "I have tried every treatment you can think of including hydrocortisone injections and spiritual healing, but I still have pain. How do I know that you can help?"
As you have seen from your own experience, there is no guarantee that any treatment will help absolutely everyone because there are so many variations with; the individual, their condition, their experiences, their personality etc. For some people they might just need the learn about the concept and approach and begin to apply it themselves and for many others they might require support and guidance from an experienced practitioner.
10) "I have now realised how much stress I cause myself by over-analysing, being self-critical etc and basically spend much of my time living in the past or worrying about something I have to do."
This creates a lot of self-induced pressure and can often be the main cause of stress-induced symptoms in the first place and the driving force of the cycle of pain. Although you can’t actually ‘change’ your personality, you can certainly modify it once you recognise how it does create inner turmoil. Basically if you ‘do what you always did, you will get what you always got’, so surely you would want to change something? The online recovery programme goes into depth about self-induced stress based on our personality traits, learned behaviours and beliefs and how to deal with all these, as well as how to break the cycle of pain and deal with past and present stress/trauma.
11) "I have a really busy life and am not sure that I will be able to commit to a programme that is going to take time to go through. What do you suggest?"
If someone says that to me it immediately provides me with a clue as to one of the underlying causes of their pain. In this fast-paced, information-overloaded society we are constantly on the go and so if we don’t take even just short breaks to defuse from all the mental stimulation, no wonder our bodies find another outlet. Many of the requirements on the programme, apart from reading and completing the self-directed assessment forms, are strategies you can incorporate into your normal day. Having said that, if you don’t at least take some time out in a constantly hectic schedule, your progress is likely to be limited. Some symptoms are like an amber traffic light urging you to slow down, or back off (from internal or external stresses), and when you don’t realise this and persist, you can end up having to cope with severe pain, or the red light! If your red light is already on, then that is a big clue that something needs to change.
12) "I have a situation that is causing me enormous stress and there is no way out of it, so if my pain is stress-induced how on earth can your programme help me?"
This obviously can cause difficulties, especially if you feel dis-empowered and can’t see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, because this in itself causes inner turmoil which then ‘fuels’ the pain further. Remember though, our perceived stress is said to be only 10% what is happening to us and 90% how we deal with it. The overall aim of the on-line programme is to help people ‘live life with less resistance’ and on-going stressful situations is something that is covered, with numerous practical suggestions to help you deal with this.