Pain – Why does it hurt so much?

Pain is hurt and suffering, pain is the thing we all avoid, pain is without doubt the strangest of all the sensation we feel as we perceive the world. It is very real and we cannot ignore it, ever. Our avoidance of it is present all the time. Think how many people are suffering from pain right now. How many people cannot escape this tyranny that overtakes all meaning and desire? This is surely something we can all live without. Must so many people suffer?

Pain is a strong motivation within all of us; we will not put our hand into a flame and leave it there without fighting your whole self-preservation instincts. Quite rightly so you might think, putting your hand into a flame is the least of your concerns, but you suffer from it anyway, in many forms.

If you search for how many people are in pain in Google you get 12,604,747 in June 2009…

Well apparently that’s the population in Pennsylvania according to the US Census Bureau, but you cannot blame the Google search engine for trying.

Pain only exists however when you are conscious. If you for some reason you are unconscious it cannot be said that you feel pain. You may actually show a response to something painful but you do not experience it. Unfortunately nor do you get much done or experience life or anything else, being unconscious can only be considered a last resort.

It also comes in many forms; it can be a physical pain or a psychological pain (psychalgia).

The physical pain is under constant and deep research but the emotional pain that you might feel is less understood.

Physical pain is a conscious sensation that alerts you to tissue damage and normally functions perfectly to stop us from mutilating ourselves by not realising that something is wrong when it occurs. Therein probably lays the reason for its existence, by ensuring that we continue to exist without killing ourselves.

It isn’t anything like the other sensations we feel however. When we sense something our body reacts and changes occur, but when the reason for it disappears, so does the reaction. Pain is inherently left switched on however, until the damage that was caused has been fixed.

If you cut yourself with a knife then that would be very foolish and you should take more care of yourself. However when damage like this occurs then a whole range of activities takes place in your body to respond to it. Blood clotting gets signalled to start around the wound to stop the bleeding and the immune system gets signalled and directs white cells in your blood for protection. The sensation of pain will continue until the wound heals, it could last for days. Or even longer depending on the severity. This pain appear to ensure that no further injury is done and as a signal to the body to promote healing. It all seems very reasonable and necessary, if not a bit painful, but without you can see that worse damage would occur.

You might experience two forms of physical pain here. The first was immediate, the ‘fast’ pain, the sharp initial feeling that alerts you that something has happened. Following that is another kind of pain, the ‘slow’ pain, the dull but constant ache or burning that ensures that you are careful not to go near any more knives.

Other than the plethora of pharmaceuticals that exist to dull this pain even more there are two ways of controlling how much it hurts. The answer, get really excited about something or find something that will put you in a high state of arousal.

As for psychological pain, from true heartache and depression to the possible feeling you might have reading this far, we still have far to go.

But what an urgent research this is in the modern world. For now, avoid it at all costs.

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