Before we start on this subject let me explain that, although we refer to emotional suffering as pain, it is really suffering.
Pain is a physical thing but did you ever think that physical pain could be your friend? Well, if you think about it, we guess in some ways right? Therefore only seeking to make the pain go away without fixing the problem behind the pain raises issues of reasonable concern. What I am saying is that we all need to elevate our IQ, our personal philosophy on this thing we call pain, and how that thinking affects us short and long-term.
From Wikipedia, the International Association for the Study of Pain describes pain as an “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.” (Even here the confusion between suffering and pain.)
Pain is actually a NORMAL function of your nervous system when pain receptors (nociceptors) are triggered by damaged tissue. Although there are many classifications of pain (chemical, thermal, mechanical, location, etc.) the underlying physical common denominator is the nerve ending’s response to contents of a damaged cell, probably cytoplasm. Once the cell wall is broken the cytoplasm leaks out and stimulates nearby nociceptors and a pain signal is triggered ending up in the brain. But triggering the nerve ending alone does not actually produce the feeling of pain, it is the brain’s interpretation of that stimulus that turns it into pain.
How is that you say? If the nerve to the brain is cut there is no feeling of pain (like numbness). When the brain is chemically altered by pain medication, the signal may reach the brain but the response is reduced. Also, pain is often referred to as subjective because some people are more sensitive to pain than others, for specific physical (bio-chemical) reasons.
There are two simple but powerful messages about this blog topic of pain I want to convey:
- Pain only happens when there is cellular damage so finding out what tissue is being damaged and why should be one’s first priority
- Pain is not abnormal, it is a normal function of the nervous system, so keep your nervous system in good shape.
Yours in Health,