What is pain, really? A brief history.

What is pain, really? A brief history.

Most of us go to a medical doctor when we feel pain.  Joanna Bourke, however, is a UK historian who has researched in depth the many non-physical aspects that affect our perception and treatment of pain.  Not so many years ago we didn’t believe that women or people from particular cultures felt pain and so they were offered no anaesthetic during, say, amputations.  In the 18th century pain was considered a punishment by God. All these external factors influence our experience of pain.

Some of the most common things I hear clients with persistent pain say are “I should just push on – it’s not that bad” or, on the other side, “I’d better not do anything until my pain goes”.  As you can see both of these beliefs have advantages and disadvantages for living with or uncovering the cause of your pain.

What beliefs do you have about pain or fatigue that could be affecting the impact it has on your life?

A very readable version of Joanna’s précis is available here.

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