Archive for January 2013

Does Your Pain Puzzle You?

Pain is something that we all deal with at some point in our lives.  No one gets by without some incidence of pain.  But what is pain? How can we understand pain?  Pain has been studied by numerous scientists for hundreds of years.  There are also many theories as to how pain is experienced.  Let’s take a look at pain for a little. Pain is actually a great adaptation.  Imagine if you couldn’t feel pain.  You would not know if your hand was on the stove or if your knee was bending in the right direction or not.  Being able to feel pain allows you to protect your body from harmful situations. The ability to feel pain allows you to use the to be highly productive and function in life by doing the right things to keep yo safe.  Pain is merely a signal that something is not functioning properly.  This can be a good thing, but also can end up being difficult to experience. A key to fully understanding pain is to recognize that pain is an interpretation to each individual person.  People use different descriptors to communicate their pain, but in actuality pain only important to the person feeling it at that specific moment. Pain gives us the ability to understand a little more of what is going on with us in our environment   For example, if pain is an interpretation, then “No brain = no pain.”  Your brain is the organ that actually allows you to ‘feel’ pain.  Without your brain, you would feel no pain. The anatomy that is painful is not always a pre-requisite to experience pain.  You might have heard of the phenomena called phantom pain.  This commonly occurs in amputees.  It is when someone experiences pain in a body part that is no longer attached.  How can that be?  Again – the brain is where pain is felt, not the body part. So long story short what does this mean for you and me?  This means that YOUR pain has a series of complexities to it.  And injury alone is not the only thing that determines the level of pain.  Emotions, stress level, dietary factors all contribute to how much  you may fell pain.  Taking these things into consideration is vital when you experience pain.  Are you having more pain today because you ate McDonalds last night? Maybe.  Talk with your physician next time you visit her/him for pain and ask if there is anything else you can do to alleviate your pain. For some stats on pain check out the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s website here:http://www.painmed.org/patient/facts.html

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