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The weirdness of pain

Paul Ingraham ARCHIVEDMicroblog posts are archived and rarely updated. In contrast, most long-form articles on are updated regularly over the years (see updates page).

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.

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