Why would one expect anything fascinating from pain, you may think. However, there’s more to pain than you may know. It may even be a sign of something good, but either way, it is a human necessity to feel pain in a number of ways:
Pain can be an emotional and physical cycle
You may think that all the pain you feel is physical. However, given enough time, most people may feel anger and frustration should they suffer from chronic pain. This can sometimes lead to depression, as it is a vicious cycle between the increased stress felt from the pain, and more stress making the pain feel worse.
Women can feel more pain than men
This may not come as a surprise to most women. As men and women are ‘wired’ differently, hormones, genetics, and psychology play a role in pain perception. Women have more nerves in any given part of the body, which also gives them more pain coping skills than men. When in doubt, think of what the human body undergoes during childbirth.
No brain, no pain
As you can imagine, if humans didn’t have brains we would be unable to perceive a feeling such as ‘pain’, or any feelings at all. The brain itself doesn’t feel pain; it is merely the centre of interpretation of all of your senses. Without a brain, one would be reduced to the level of a jellyfish and could live life blissfully unaware of what is happening to it.
You can feel heartbreak
It’s a great expression, that ‘physical and emotional pain share real estate in your brain’. When a person is hurt emotionally, what they feel can be likened to physical pain. As both pains may share pathways in your brain, it is sometimes hard to feel the one without the other.
Distract yourself from pain
This is a great experiment to try the next time you stub your toe or whack your funny bone. If you try and think of something else other than the pain, you can trick your brain into focussing on the pain less, as it struggles to process both “thoughts” at the same time. Similarly, when you put ice on an insect bite, your body is no longer concentrating on the bite but rather on the sensation of a cold, hard ice cube on your skin. Many people with chronic pain learn how to meditate; focussing on other things can make your pain feel less prominent.
Some animals are immune to pain
A very special animal, the naked mole rat, is neither a mole nor a rat, but this interesting creature is at the forefront of understanding pain. Why? It doesn’t feel many of the forms of pain that humans experience. Its pain sensors work differently and therefore they cannot feel pain the way other similar animals would.
Pain can be good
Yes, pain is good! And a completely normal human process that you would not want to live without. You may not want to believe it at the time, but it is your body’s way of notifying you that something may be wrong. It is a symptom of an underlying medical condition which you are can now treat, and it also teaches one to avoid similar situations in the future that might have ended badly – such as not wearing sunscreen in a heatwave.
Although no one likes pain, emotional or physical, it is important to understand its purpose in the human body.