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Pain in Men Wounded in Battle

PainSci » bibliography » Beecher 1946
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Tags: chronic pain, classics, random, biology, surgery, mind, pain problems, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Beecher 1946: Pain is Weird

PainSci notes on Beecher 1946:

Dr. Henry Beecher is most famous for an anecdote about treating wounded soldiers with a placebo when he ran out of morphine… which probably never happened (see Jarry). He is also famous for this classic paper, published immediately after WW II, in which he reports that most soldiers wounded in combat had so little pain that they didn’t want morphine. He hypothesized that trauma in the civilian is highly disruptive to their livelihood and causes them to focus on and feel the pain more acutely. In contrast, for the soldier, a serious injury represents deliverance from a terrifying situation — and the euphoria of this blunts the pain.

That idea remains well-supported in broad strokes by modern pain science, but it would be quite interesting to ask if it has ever been more rigorously validated.

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