One definition from Oxford Languages on pain is,

“highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury”.

 

Photo credit: News Medical

 

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!

 

Photo credit: TODAY

 

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.

 

Photo credit: Exploring the Stereotypes About Aging – WordPress

 

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?