The “Sticky Neural Loop”

Everyone’s pain is “in” their brain.

That doesn’t mean that it’s not real – the brain is the control center for everything we experience. So even if you were to stub your toe, your brain would be the thing that alerts you of the pain – not your toe itself. 

As living beings, we are always learning. Every experience we have creates neural connections. Neural circuits form like highways in the brain – each time you learn something a new highway is formed. This is also true for pain.

Pain Highway


When a pain highway forms, it passes through other areas of the brain, too. That is why sometimes a pain highway can include things like emotions, beliefs, memories, and physical body control. These areas of the brain bring more traffic to the main pain highway. Pretty soon that pain highway gets stuck with traffic, and the longer it continues, the more new traffic comes (like anxiety, behavior changes, difficulty with sleep, schoolwork, concentration…)

It is easy for youth’s brains to “get stuck” in this neural traffic – or as CHYP likes to call it, the “Sticky Neural Loop.” That’s why CHYP offers “unsticking” strategies that use both the mind and the body to create “run off streets” for neural traffic to move to.