"People with chronically painful conditions seem to become more rather than less sensitive to their pain. ...if you suffer from constant pain in a certain area you will actually recruit more nerve cells to register that pain. Unrelieved pain of long duration may therefore perpetuate itself even when the original injury is almost healed.
Distraction is a very effective antidote. It's common knowledge that the only sure-fire way to alleviate unpleasant symptoms is to have sex, partly because the brain is involved with too many important messages from downstairs to bother about routine complaints.
Intractable pain which has become established and self-perpetuating is extremely common, affecting literally millions of people in Britain. As the pain continues for weeks and months it is reinforced on every level. A very large proportion of people with chronic pain become clinically depressed, which makes everything seem worse than it is. They also develop behavioural patterns which make them more susceptible to pain.
It struck me during the last cold spell that if you hunch your shoulders to the wind and pull your jacket around you, you actually suffer much more from cold than if you do a King Lear and attack the weather head on.
... a variety of psychological techniques may also be used to convince sufferers that the pain won't get worse and won't kill them, that they can go back to work, that they can get out of bed, and that they don't need to take so many pills. The fact that these techniques often help in no way suggests that the pain is not real. All pain is real. But how much you suffer from it can sometimes be a matter of attitude."
Dr John Collee
Observer Magazine c.Feb 1991
Read in 2017 - 12: Ye Olde Britain
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