Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Can we think the pain away?

 •  • 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 PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

If pain can be profoundly warped by the brain, does that mean we can think the pain away?

There’s no question that brains can warp the perception of pain — this is the Big Idea that defines modern pain science. And it’s fascinating stuff.

But we are struggling to make it useful.

Educating people about the weirdness of pain is often oversimplified, the advice it inspires impractical to the point of being insultingly trite — often indistinguishable from toxic positivity, or even from an “all in your head” accusation. 🙄 You know what the road to Hell is paved with. This topic can be a perfect example (a longer rant-post about it coming soon).

Meanwhile, how about some tips that are both realistic and actually useful? A lot of tips. I have a huge new monster of an article for you, 17,000 words of ideas and perspective, at least an hour of reading. Try the introduction at least, and see if you don’t get hooked.

Mind Over Pain — Pain can be profoundly warped by the brain, but does that mean we can think the pain away?

It’s hard to pick images for some content. Sometimes I just look for a good photograph with roughly the right vibe. Vague thinking imagery, somewhat meditative, a bit moody… chef’s kiss. Hell if I was going to use a photo of someone in lotus position…

Okay, the giant new article is not quite technically “new”: a lot of this content has been around in other forms for quite a while. But I finally put it all in one place, did a lot of updating, and gave the topic the attention and focus it deserves. That page will now be the Forever Home for all PainSci updates on this theme.

This isn’t a “premium” post… but it’s my premium subscribers who are literally making it possible for me to put in the insane hours it takes to create these giant articles (let alone maintain them). If you appreciate PainScience.com content, please subscribe!