DEAR DOCTOR K: I suffer from chronic pain. My doctor suggested that I look into mind-body therapies. Why? Is it possible to think your way out of pain?
DEAR READER: I wouldn't describe mind-body therapies as "thinking your way out" of any kind of suffering. But mind-body therapies surely can help reduce chronic suffering, including chronic pain. Pain signals sent up the nerves from your body register in pain centers deep inside your brain. But signals from those pain centers then are processed by the "thinking part" of your brain. That part, in turn, is affected by your emotions, which come from a different part of your brain.