One definition from Oxford Languages on pain is,
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Another definition still from Oxford Languages on pain is,
“Great care or trouble”.
Photo credit: The New York Times
A third way of looking at pain can be to,
“Cause mental or physical pain to”.
Photo credit: Baylor Scott and White Health
The little me always wondered why I felt pain, for example, when my parents barked at me or remarked at me in a way that hurt.
The adult me still wonders why I still feel pain, given the number of years I have been exposed to this thing called life!
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According to Shahram Heshmat Ph.D., he lists 7 factors that affect how we feel pain:
- Attention. Pain disrupts the person’s attention and forces them to focus on their body.
- Interpretation. Some people may perceive a pain problem as devastating to one’s well-being whereas others may perceive the same pain problem as an inconvenience that can be tolerated and managed.
- Attitudes toward pain. Cultural factors influence beliefs, perceptions, and emotions. Culture can influence how an individual communicates pain, pain tolerance, and pain catastrophizing.
- Catastrophic thinking. Catastrophic or tragic thinking can be defined as imagining the worst possible result that could happen. Catastrophizing may worsen pain by making a person focus and attach additional emotion to it.
- Sense of agency. Patients clearly feel better as their sense of control increases. Pain is no longer a threat when we know we are not entirely at its mercy.
- Expectations. The subjective experience of pain is largely shaped by our expectations. When people expect to have more pain, they have more pain, and vice versa.
- Anxiety. Anxiety is well known to increase pain. Anxious people seem to have a lower pain threshold. Some people (mostly men) even shy away from seeing doctors because they fear receiving bad news.
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To be honest, Dr. Heshmat’s elaboration explains a lot of things.
There are days I feel a slight pain and my anxious mind tells my conscious mind that the pain is so much worse than I think it is.
I end up feeling much more pain…kind of like what is called a “self-fulfilling prophecy”!
Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Does this stuff happen to you?
What is your experience like with this very unpleasant thing?