Pain: Purpose of pain, Pain cycle, Why people react differently to pain ( Part 1 )

From: Helen Dynda (
Mon Apr 24 14:28:20 2000


Pain is your body's alarm system. It tells you that something is wrong. When part of your body is injured or hurt, nerves in that area release chemical signals. Other nerves send these signals to your brain, where they are recognized as pain. Pain often tells you that you need to do something. For example, if you touch a hot stove, pain signals from your brain make you pull your hand away. This type of pain helps protect you. Long-lasting pain, such as arthritis pain, is different. While it tells you that something is wrong, it often isn't as easy to relieve. Managing this type of pain is important, because it can disrupt your life.


Along with physical changes, such as movement limitations, the emotional ups and downs of your condition can add to your pain. If you feel depressed or stressed due to limited or lost abilities, your pain seems worse. You can get caught in a cycle of pain, limited abilities, lost abilities, stress, and depression that makes everything seem harder to handle.


People react differently to pain for several reasons:

1.) Physical reasons: The sensitivity of your own nervous system and the severity of your condition determine how your body reacts to pain. These factors determine whether your nerves will send or block pain signals.

2.) Emotional and social reasons: Other factors that affect how you react to pain and how much pain you feel include your fears and anxieties about pain, previous experiences with pain, energy level, and the attitude about your condition. The way people around you react to pain also may affect how you personally react to pain.

Whatever the reason, many people have discovered that by learning and practicing pain management skills, it is possible to reduce pain.

******[ Continued in Part 2 ]******

The 15th century proverb which summarizes the purpose of medicine is:

* To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always. *

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