Higher Centers and the Influence of Pain
Oct 13, 2018
Last blog I talked about how pain is defined and the evolution of the definition over time.
Nociception is different then pain. Simplistically nocioceptors are high threshold receptors that only detect the potential of danger. They do not give you pain on their own. A good analogy I have heard is that nocioceptors are like a guard dog. The dog will always bark at the potential of danger of people at your front door, even if it’s just the postal worker at the door. The human (the brain) has to finger out if in fact there is danger.
Therefore pain is an experience, not a sense and has many influences.
Pain has context:
I saw this image earlier this week and thought what a good image to apply to pain science and it’s fall. Pain has context to it, meaning previous experiences in the past can influence your interpretation of current potentially painful events. As with the picture above if Humpty Dumpty truly had a great fall vs. having a fall off the building in the past; likely his future falls would have a less vs. more pain experience to it.
Pain is affected by emotion. When looking at a fine piece of art there are factors that influence your visual experience. The texture of the painting, the lighting, the image itself, and your past/ personal experiences of that image can influence your interpretation of that art piece. Pain is no different, there are psycho-social factors, current emotion and, as mentioned above, context can change your pain.