Pain: The science and culture of why we hurt
The full quote/excerpt
[Bill] Livingston described a lumberjack, a timber feller, who had cut off the tip of his left thumb with an axe. The wound healed, but the scar remained so sensitive that he couldn’t work. Another operation removed a chunk of the remaining thumb, after which the stump was even more painful. Doctors were at a loss to treat him. Livingston took the case on, hoping to at least ease the man’s pain for brief periods with a local anaesthetic. he found that when he injected the man’s thumb with a local anesthetic, he suddenly felt his arm “relax” for the first time since the accident. After a series of injections, the lumberjack found he could finally put on a glove and eventually use an axe. Livingston felt it wasn’t the procaine that had “cured” his condition, but the interruption and reorganization of the stimulus in the area. The injections seemed to reboot a nervous system that had become stuck in an old modality.
Shortened version of the quote
Livingston felt it wasn’t the procaine that had “cured” his condition, but the interruption and reorganization of the stimulus in the area.