The Same Pain Doesn’t Mean It’s The Same Cause

Frequently I hear patients tell me that it’s the same pain I had last year. Or my neighbor has the same pain – just get you neck cracked. Or even worse, have you looked up your symptoms on the Internet and found that it could be anything from, “a cold in your neck” to cancer.

Pain is very confusing for most doctors as well as patients. The fact is that pain is an emotional response. Not to say that when one is in pain their “emotional”. The nerves that detect a noxious stimulation such as an acute inflammation or muscle spasm, end in an area of the brain for emotion. Your brain tries to figure out what’s going on. In doing so, it draws on all your past experiences with pain creating a concept of what type of pain you have. This will interpret how you react to your concept of this type of pain. This is why the pain which you currently having feels like the pain you had in the past. Also this is the reason that people having a low tolerance or a high tolerance of pain. Most people believe they have a high tolerance for pain as if it were a badge of honor. Thanks to the German philosopher Nietzsche.

Once you understand this, you realize that everybody has a different interpretation of a particular pain. The next time you had a pain, tried to describe it. Is it an ache, sharp, burning, throbbing. You will find that none of them will describe your pain correctly. And then there is the intensity, how strong it is. This is usually rated on what is known as an analog scale from 0 – no pain, to 10 which is excruciating pain. Finally there was frequency. Is it constant, is it 75% of the time or less.

Now you know the sensation of pain is very individualized and may not be the same pain as you had last year. Care must be taken to find out what’s the cause of your pain today. A good doctor will ask you all these questions that we just discussed as well as your past health history, any recent traumas or strain that you may have had. This must be followed by a comprehensive examination.

To do anything less will be denying you of your dignity and individuality, putting your health at risk.

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