How to Prevent Pain Episodes – Ep 215
February 24, 2020
An Expert on Pain
Today’s guest host Dr. Kevin Cuccaro is an expert on pain and will help us how we can prevent pain episodes. We had so many e-mail responses to our 4-part series on pain that I thought it would be great to bring on an actual expert. My husband, Les, and I discussed pain in episodes 180 through 183 but as you know we’re not experts. We discussed the June 2019 article on pain. Since our discussion, I had something that happened to me you probably aren’t aware of unless you’re a member of the Facebook group.
During this 4-part series, we’ll be discussing the podcast episodes that Les and I created and what we left out. In this episode, we’ll discuss what happened to me and how I might be able to prevent pain episodes.
I'm Having Pain Episodes
I had a pain on my neck that has gone on for a couple of days and I’m no stranger of having a pain in my neck. So, I thought I would do some traction and traction is something I have done in the past. Instead of doing it for 2 minutes, I did it for 3 minutes and then when I was finished. I could not get out of bed. Although the normal time is 3 minutes, you usually work your way up to it and it may have been 8 years since I’ve used it. Instead of doing it for 2 or 1 minute, I thought that I had done this a million times so let me do this for 3 minutes.
Dr. Cuccaro said the key thing here for him is the fact that there is something inside of me that my brain is saying that I should not be doing this, calling it a threat. The second part is what I mentioned that generally, I would build-up to traction. That’s another part in my brain saying that we should build-up to this.
What Kind of Pain This?
People assume that there are these different types of pain, physical, emotional, or psychosomatic. What Dr. Cuccaro wants to get across to people is that there is just pain. All pain is pain. But all pain has multiple different inputs that go into constructing it. All of these are nerve information that’s going up into the brain. That nerve information then takes 2 other components in order for us to construct this experience of pain. We had to have attention; you have to notice and direct your attention to it and the second part is the affective dimension which is the emotional component, the meaning that we give to it.
We tend to view pain as a punisher, but pain actually does is it try to protect you from body damage. It’s an alarm system. This is the reason where if you have a new episode of pain, sometimes those will hurt much worse than if you have a similar pain in the future. But if we are fearful that every time we experience pain episodes, that there is body damage. We tend to experience more severe pain when a pain reoccurs.
What to Do with those Pain Episodes?
None of us wants to experience pain, but it serves a vital role to us. The more that we understand some basics of pain and the science of pain, the more we appreciate what pain is trying to do. It is never about the complete elimination of pain. Pain is associated with leaning; If we understand that pain is a protector, it will protect us. For example, we touched a hot stove; We had a sharp sensation going up to our brain, withdraw, and then we say, I must have burned my finger and there’s a pain at that moment. Pain is protecting us because it’s withdrawing and protecting us from that finger we’ve burned.
The other way that pain protects us is for the future. Because if you ever saw a hot burning stove in the future, how likely are you to touch it again? The answer is, not very likely because the first time you did it, you experienced a lot of pain.
Emotional Part of Pain