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What Can We Do About Pain? Essay Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1819

Essay

Introduction

Running into a fire hydrant while a person is on a bicycle or getting their hand slammed into a door instills a paralyzing sting within a person’s body that disables them from either not moving that part of the body or entirely; this is what pain is. Pain is a terrible sensation that completely makes the body incapable of performing any kind of action for a few seconds or longer, it can be argued that the pain that a person feels is not just real but real enough to deal the body some real damage. For example, if a person gets their hand slammed in the door then tries to pick up something like a heavy plate or a basketball, the pressure that the person is putting on their hand is only prolonging the pain. It has been theorized that there are several ways to deal with pain so it seems less painful or it doesn’t resonate within the body as much.

Chronic pain and pain management is one of the hardest things to do when the body is overcome with pain that affects more than just an arm or a leg, managing these two kinds of pain is a challenge. There has been successful treatments for pain so the pain is gone, but there has also been unsuccessful treatments for pain which has only allowed the pain to disappear temporarily then come back after a few minutes or hours later. Based on the success rate of the different medications that people have taken, some would say medication is the way to cure pain.

So the question now is this, is pain mental, physical or both? The answer, pain is both physical and mental as this essay will argue.

Body I

It is a known fact that when a person feels pain, their first reaction is how much it hurts and that pain stays with them for a while. From a neurological perspective, pain affects the part of the body that the person injures. For example, if a person hits their head on a door, the pain will resonate in their head for a few minutes based on the severity of the injury. The part that makes this pain physical is that the person is actually experiencing the pain and its paralyzing power. The part that makes pain mental is that it’ll only potentially last as long as the person is thinking or concentrating on it. Woolf suggested that, “pain can only be cured if a person can understand where the pain originated” (Woolf).

Also, it is a known fact that the neurologically irritated area on the body from the injury is likely to multiple if a person engages in something that irritate the nerves in that particular body part. Since most of the body is made of nerves, it would stand to reason that any pain a person suffers, that pain would affect them both mentally and physically. Mentally, the pain would affect a part of the body that the person uses the most. Physically, the pain would irritate and paralyze the part of the body that suffered the injury to it. Fields reported that, “pain is a mental concept and should be treated as such, conquering the pain inside the mind will ultimately destroy it outside of the mind as well.” (Fields).

Make no mistake, pain affects everyone neurologically in the aspect that the pain itself is stress on the body part that was affected by the injury or pain. It can be argued that people who are sensitive to pain will feel it in the physical part of their body first before they feel in their minds. Pain is both physical and mental contrary to neurological beliefs, since the pain begins in the mind, it ends in the body which causes the person to feel the pain in that part of the body only.

Body II

As previously stated, pain is both mental and physical because of its ability to make the body acknowledge the pain coursing through it. However, it has been proven that there are things that people can do that has been known to have an effect on pain so as to make the pain seem less evident. Take music for example, people who listen to music or their favorite tunes when they suffer an injury might make that person less likely to acknowledge that pain and focus more on the music. In a way, listening to music alleviates pain better as opposed to a person taking painkillers until the pain goes away. Gardner and Lickliner suggested that, “listening to music has been known to work wonders on curing pain or making the pain seem less evident” (32-33).

Massage is another way to cure a person’s pain, the relaxation that the person experiences puts the person in a mental state of euphoria whereas if a person felt anything painful, it wouldn’t last any longer than a second. Cassileth & Vickers reported that, “the power of massage has always been an effective cure for chronic physical pain” (244-249). The relaxation effects of massage or music or even exercise suggests that the concept of pain might seem unavoidable, there are things that a person can do to get rid of that pain. The brain’s role in its perception of pain is to make sense of what the pain is and what part of the body it will affect whether it is a person’s hands or feet.

The meaning of pain does affect experience of pain because that the meaning of that pain can have a powerful effect on either the person’s mental or physical state depending on the type of pain, a person’s emotional “wall” is shaken by pain because that pain is affecting them more mentally than physically.

When a person suffers emotional pain, that person’s thoughts is centered on that pain and curing it. Doing an activity would allow the person to take their mind off of the emotional pain as long as they didn’t do anything that would make them relive that pain again.

Body III

There are people who experience chronic pain every day, but there have been very successful treatments that has worked to rid people of chronic pain and has successfully helped them with their pain management. Exercise is one of the ways that a person can treat pain. When a person suffers pain especially if that pain is maladaptive, sitting still in one place gives that pain a chance to grow in size. However, if a person exercises or does some exercises like jogging or stair stepping, they’ll decrease the hold that the pain has over them. Ambrose & Golightly explained that, “exercise has been a cure for pain for a long time, non-pharmacological treatments are very effective when dealing with chronic pain” (29).

People have also found psychotherapy to be successful as well as helpful, this form of treatment has the ability to teach people to focus more on the mental part of their pain instead of the physical part of it so their physical pain seems less relevant or seem as if it’s not affecting them in any way. Another successful treatment to chronic pain is hypnosis, a person’s mental state is completely unaware of the actual pain their body is in. Hydrotherapy is one of the most effective ways to cure chronic pain, people can soak their bodies and cure any joint damage the person has suffered. There are also unsuccessful treatments for treating chronic pain such as opioids which can provide a short term solution to treating the pain, but the pain will return in a day or two. Painkillers also provide temporary relief from pain, but the pain also returns after a day or two. Coincidentally, many pills that are used to treat chronic pain have been ineffective due to their temporary effects.

Sadly, a lot of the aforementioned pills need to be taken in higher doses in order for them to take effect. This can also cause problems for people who have weak kidneys, this can make a person’s body that much more susceptible to the side effects of certain pills.

Conclusion

People have argued that pain is more physical because of the paralysis the person suffers when they are struck with that pain such as getting their hand slammed in the door or getting a tennis ball to the head. Physical pain from both of the aforementioned is practically indescribable, the person is likely to feel the pain for a long period of time. Some people have also argued that pain is more mental because the pain starts and stays in the brain before it is sent to the designated part of the body, it can hardly be argued that both are true enough. However, pain is both physical and mental.

When a person suffers a blow to the head, that pain pulsates in their head for a reasonable amount of time sometimes longer and every time they move their head, they are reminded of the evident pain from that blow they took. Ironically, many successful and unconventional methods have been implemented in order to make a person focus less on their pain. Methods such as listening to music which has been known to make a person forget all about the evident pain that they have, hypnosis has been one of the best ways to “ignore” pain. If a person’s mind isn’t focused on the pain then it can be said that the pain isn’t there nor exists.

Other successful treatments for chronic pain is hydrotherapy which is instrumental in curing not just nerve damage but joint damage as well. The key to most of the successful treatments for pain is taking a person’s focus off of that pain and directing it toward something else such as channeling it through relaxation techniques that they can use to overcome their pain not to mention helping them forget that the pain is there.

Overall, pain can’t be just all physical or all mental, the fact that people suffer pain in one area of the body before the pain registers in the designated part of the body more than proves that pain is a combination of both mental and physical.

Works Cited

Woolf, Clifford J. “What is this thing called pain?” The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Volume 120, Number 1,1 November 2010. Web. 23 November 2015

Gardner, W.J. and J.C. Licklider. “Suppression of Pain by Sound.” Science 132:32-33, 1960. 23 November 2015. Web. 23 November 2015

Cassileth, Barrie and Andrew J. Vickers. “Massage Therapy for Symptom Control: Outcome Study at a Major Cancer Center.” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Volume 28, Issue 3, September 2004, Pages 244–249

Ambrose, Kirsten and Yvonne Golightly. “Physical exercise as non-pharmacological treatment of chronic pain: Why and when.” Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology. 29 (2015). Web. 23 November 2015.

Fields, Howard L. “Setting the Stage for Pain: Allegorical Tales from Neuroscience.” In Pain and Its Transformations: The Interface of Biology and Culture. Sarah Coakley and Key Kaufman Shelemay, eds. Harvard UP, Cambridge, 2007.

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