What is Brain Changer?
Brain Changer is a card and app based system for people who have had pain education and want to apply that knowledge through a daily program.
By using the app you are able to recognise when your brain is escalating away from ‘safe’ and then counteract the danger signal with stronger ‘safety’ signals and activities. The app will also show progress over time, helping identify your patterns and to re-calibrate your rehab program in consultation with your health care team.
Brain Changer has been developed by Tina McIntosh, a Canberra based chronic pain sufferer who is now pain free and who users the app daily.
Feedback from general practitioners, pain psychologists and physiotherapists is that Brain Changer is the missing piece of the pain rehabilitation puzzle.
Our users say it’s changing their lives.
Tina McIntosh is the creator of Brain Changer. Her expertise is that she knows chronic pain from the inside – she lived with chronic bilateral arm pain for 13 years.
Here is her story:
I had been living with chronic bilateral arm pain for 10 years in September 2014 when I read a chapter on chronic pain in Norman Doidge’s book The Brain That Changes Itself. I almost didn’t read the chapter because the title was so pessimistic: The Dark Side of Neuroplasticity. I’m glad I did though because it changed my life. I learned that Australian pain scientist Lorimer Moseley had discovered that you can re-train your brain so it doesn’t send chronic pain even if you’ve had chronic pain for a long time. I immediately set about getting my hands on everything Professor Moseley had written and listened to all his talks and interviews that I could find online.
While I could understand the theory, I wasn’t clear about how to put it into practice in my daily life. So I’ve spent the past two years figuring this out. I started out by imagining that Professor Moseley was right by my side as I went through the day. He’d say things like “If you think you can’t do it safely, you won’t be able to.”
It’s been a lot of fun developing Brain Changer because I’ve been able to indulge my fascination with gamification and my passion for brain science. I haven’t done it all on my own though – I’ve fine-tuned the tool with input from GPs, physiotherapists and psychologists who specialise in pain management.
I had my own personal breakthrough in October 2016 when I worked my first pain free, 8 hour computer day in 12 years. My tool wasn’t the sole reason for this recovery; I also took medication, visited my physiotherapist and GP regularly, exercised and meditated most days. I had tried each of these strategies over the many years I’d had chronic pain but they only became effective when I added in a daily program of applied pain theory. So I think my tool could be the missing piece of the chronic pain rehab puzzle. The GPs, pain psychologists and physios I’ve shown it too think so too.
I’m thrilled that users of Brain Changer say it’s changing their lives. And I’m pleased that something constructive has come from 13 years of chronic pain.