Pain is an unpleasant experience, even more so when it becomes persistent.
You may not like experiencing pain but the reality is pain’s a normal part of life and is essential to our survival. Pain occurs when the brain perceives damage or there is a threat of damage to the body and it wants action.
Some pain is straight forward, called acute pain. Acute pain starts suddenly and can last a few seconds, weeks or months. This pain is part of normal everyday life, it’s the pain you get when you break your leg or hit yourself on the thumb with the hammer, stub your toe or, when you put your hand on a hot stove and burn yourself…and this is good pain believe it or not – because it has just warned you that you have been hurt. Now at this point I have to say swearing really loudly after hurting oneself has been scientifically proven to help deal with said pain.
Your brain is of the opinion that a body part could be under threat, and so pain can motivate action, protecting you from harm or potential harm. For example, if you touch a hot element on the stove, you will know how quickly the body reacts by immediately pulling your hand away. Pain can also help with healing, because when an injury hurts, you rest.
So how do we feel pain? Because last week, I got told it was ‘all in my head’, which is rubbish isn’t it? My pain is real, it hurts and I’m definitely not feeling it in my head?
In Part 2, we will talk about how we come to feel and experience pain, and whether pain is ‘all in the mind’.