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Pain is immune to logic

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Todd Hargrove of Better Movement:

“Pain is unfortunately sometimes like the checkerboard illusion — immune to logic.”

Or perhaps mostly immune to logic.

Once again, Todd goes deep to find insight into pain science, this time mining evolutionary psychology and the modular theory of mind. I am glad he did this reading and thinking so that I didn’t have to. Dense source material! But neat.

Basically, this is about how different parts of your brain don’t necessarily cooperate much.

Ultimately, the brain controls everything about pain — but, alas, we do not control our brains, certainly not with our fancy “thinking” skill. At best, we might have some indirect leverage. As Todd suggests (and I agree):

If the pain module won’t ‘listen’ to the more cognitive modules, which modules might be better at speaking its ‘language?’ The movement modules would be first on my list.

“Positive movement” might be much more potent than “positive thinking.” And what is positive movement? Basically, moving as if you are more comfortable than you are: build up your confidence with whatever movement you can reasonably handle. Move in ways that are as pleasant, fun, and/or inspiring as possible. Pain limits movement — so push back against those limits gently, creatively, whimsically.

And the “primate grooming” brain modules are probably right up there too: socializing and touch (massage).

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