Monday, September 3, 2007

Explain Pain pain!

Writing the “Explain Pain” book with Lorimer Moseley and eccentric artist Sunyata, (previously Geoff Ween) was a most enjoyable experience - and the success of the book has been very satisfying.

In this blog I want to talk about a phenomenon which I call “Explain Pain pain”. Every now and then we hear from patients or clinicians that they have read the book, but it has given them more pain or in a few cases made them sweat a lot. At first, this was bit distressing as this was not the aim of the book, but on reflection and with a new conceptual framework of what pain is, Explain Pain pain is quite obvious.

Moseley’s attempt to reconceptualise pain as a brain output constructed by various threats plus or minus inputs from damaged tissues rather than the old and now biologically bankrupt concept of pain coming from damaged tissues, i.e. pain as an input holds true here. In Explain Pain pain, the information is a very likely a threat - it calls for change, suggests that previous management may not have been optimal, and calls for a closer look at what goes in the head of the sufferer. This for some people is quite a threat, and as pain is a way to deal with threat, the brain turns it on.

I think the good thing about Explain Pain pain, is that it can be easily explained and it makes a wonderful example of pain not related to tissue damage. After all reading a book like “Explain Pain” is unlikely to strain any muscles or joints.