Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

The weirdness of pain

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
Get posts in your inbox:
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.

A new blurb on the weirdness of pain, from a coming-soon update to the patellofemoral pain syndrome book (and equally applicable to most chronic pain problems).

What if the red warning light on the dashboard was wrong? What if the alarm system itself was malfunctioning? What if there wasn’t much going on in your knees at all anymore, but your brain kept flashing that warning light?

This happens. The brain has immense power to tune pain severity and quality, independently of whatever’s actually going on in your knees. Fear, anxiety, and stress dial pain up. No one is surprised to hear this, but almost everyone underestimates it.

In related news, I rebranded my main pain article yet again, and I think I’ve settled on a good title for the long haul: Pain is Weird.

PainSci Member Login » Submit your email to unlock member content. If you can’t remember/access your registration email, please contact me. ~ Paul Ingraham, PainSci Publisher