Dec 16, 2018

Unpacking pain: what causes it and why it’s hard to measure

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Past experience matters too. For example, if the last time a person felt a twinge in their lower back it developed into sciatica, with significant pain that took months of therapy to come right, the next time they experience a twinge in their back the person is likely to experience more anxiety and pain. Pain, you see, isn’t an input to the body, rather pain is an output of the brain’s threat detection system.

Another major factor is a person’s current state of mind. They may rate a noxious stimulus differently from day to day, or even within a day. Indeed, from your own experiences, you might appreciate that pain associated with an injury isn’t constant throughout the day.

There’s also significant variation in pain sensitivity and tolerance between people.

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