What Everyone Should Know About Pain

The psychology of pain

Although we can talk about pain as a sensory phenomenon, in the same way that we talk about other sensory experiences such as seeing and hearing, pain also manifests inherently emotional and motivational features. As such, the experience and reaction to pain is intimately related to the psychological state of the individual. The way someone experiences and reacts to a painful event is influenced by that person’s psychological state, including such factors as anxiety, depression, and expectation, among others. This is why two people, experiencing the same painful event, could describe and react to the pain very differently. In addition, pain can produce changes in a person’s psychological state, particularly under conditions of recurring or persistent pain. This is why someone’s pain experience can change over time, even when facing the same painful event. This two-way relationship between pain experience and psychological state is a principle reason for the need to include treatment for maladaptive psychological consequences of chronic pain along with physiological promotors of that pain.

We recommend the following resource for additional information:
The Chronic Pain Research Alliance

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