Is physical pain an emotion and a mental construct?

Feeling physical pain is a universal phenomenon. But I have never found anyone classifying it as an emotion. Read this story to know more about it.

This is an interesting story from a scientific journal about a stuntman by name Rogers, who is considered as the strongest in the world. The guy can lift a car engine with one hand and use the fingertips of the other hand to wrench the spark plugs out. In another act of daredevilry, using his bare hands, he was able to keep two US air force fighter planes from blasting away in different directions.

A scientist from the University of Houston speculated that he was able to recruit and utilize abnormally large number of muscle fibres owing to some freak genetic mutation. Interestingly, Rogers said that he does feel pain and in fact scared of dentists like anyone of us. Narrating a funny incident he said that during one of his stunts he bit down too hard and suffered a half-broken tooth. Instead of taking chances with a dentist, he used his fingers as clamps and extracted the tooth himself from its roots!! He explains why he is scared of dentists: ‘When you sit in front of a dentist, you have absolutely no clue or control over the pain inflicted on you. On the other hand, when you execute the job yourself you are in control and know when to expect pain. I know it’s coming and can choose to ignore it. When I have a job to do I don’t care if it hurts’.

Therefore it’s possible that he also experiences pain like all of us but has been successful in disregarding it when he is in command and knows it’s coming.

According to psychologists, very often we are more frightened than hurt and we suffer more from imagination than from reality. For instance, I’m now living alone since my wife is away in the US with our grand children. I’m alone is a fact but to feel lonely is an imagination and an emotion. It’s an illusion and a perception that doesn’t match the physical reality.

The study concludes significantly that pain is an emotion and a mental construct based on the finding that feeling pain is dependent upon mood, attentiveness and circumstances. People can feel pain for the wrong reasons or fail to experience when it would be reasonable to do so.

The conclusions of the study can lead to interesting solutions to pain management.

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Published in: on February 14, 2015 at 3:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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