No, you’re not imagining things. Our body has a Siri (nociception) that alerts us about pain.
Coincidentally, today I woke up feeling dizzy. I have the biggest headache. Sounds like people speaking make me want to rip my ears out. Or my hair. Mostly, my hair out. The radio my mom is blasting in the living room is playing on loop in my brain.
Pain makes me squirmy. I like to avoid it by sleeping. You probably already guessed I am a baby, since I write about my feelings so much, in painful detail.
Are you a baby too? Or do you only complain when you feel like you’re dying. What happens if you don’t feel pain at all? Scroll down to find out.
Our body’s Siri: nociception
Forget Siri- most humans have nociception going on as we sit down, doing nothing. Pain alerts our body of potential damage via the process of nociception.
More commonly, and scientifically, ( not metaphorically 🤪) explained as the neural processing of harmful stimuli.
Just like Siri responds when we tell her (or him): Hey Siri; Our body also responds.
Instead of the automated response, “How can I help”, our body responds by neurologically processing our pain. Sometimes, leaving us little presents like :
- Increased heart rate
- Blood pressure
Little special helpers as I like to call them, or specialized neurons in the scientific community, project into our skin and soft tissue to recognize and detect:
- Extreme heat or cold
- Chemical signals
Why do people experience different pain levels? Are we just babies?
Before, going into how different people experience pain. Let’s start at the beginning. The definition.
Pain is defined as an:
Unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology
So, the next time someone tells you you’re imagining your aches, respond by saying, pain is partially an emotional experience.
Pain signals are like little radars that alert our body when something uncomfortable is going on. This starts in our periphery. All our pain is sent out from our spinal cord to areas in our brain.
This is the warning our pain receptors tell us about. Think of your pain like a receptionist or assistant that warns you every time something weird is happening or off-schedule. While most of us do not have assistants, our body does have nociception.
Can we locate all pain?
Chronic pain is different. Since, it is more difficult to locate. Welp. It takes longer to treat than when you drop your hand in hot water. Or stub your toe into a table.
Chronic pain is usually associated with a long-term disease like arthritis vs. a clumsy fall on the ground after a drunk night out.
No system is perfect. Like Siri, our body looks for a reason. But sometimes responds, “Sorry we can’t find what you are looking for”.
As a result, we start feeling anxiety or can develop or increase our depression.
When people can’t feel pain. Do people have different tolerance?
Yes, we do. Some research suggests that some pain is inherited. However, we will not get into that. Instead, let’s focus on the interesting condition of Congenital indifference to pain (CIP). People with this condition are unable to perceive pain. They still feel light touches and vibrations though.
That sounds so cool right? Just like an X-men.
While it is very cool , it is also dangerous. Especially, with young children. Without a detector- you can stay hitting your foot into a wall until it breaks. You don’t know your own limits.
The focus here is on educating parents and children on safety measures, including which actions cause our body harm. Our bodies still get damaged even if we don’t feel pain.
What can we do?
We can’t do anything except be patient with ourselves and others. Don’t discount people’s complaints. It is their body literally warning them that something is wrong. Usually, when someone screams, “Shit, cops coming”, you run.
Additionally, if someone says, “An earthquake is about to happen”, we don’t stay still. So, why do we expect people to be silent about their pain?
If our nociceptors are not working, aka, we have no wifi for Siri, then a pain signal is not generated.
How strong is a belief system?
What we believe and know about pain influences how we perceive it. In turn, influencing our emotional responses.
This can also affect how others , even doctors and psychologists perceive as pain tolerance for patients. The only solution is to learn more. That way we can understand our pain and others more.
You know how we sometimes wish pain never happens . We really need our pain, our warnings. After learning about all the stuff my body goes through to alert me, I don’t think I am going to complain as often.
A lot of this I learned yesterday. Obviously, it will take some time to change my ways. But the only way, is forward. Ok, enough cliches for today.
Concluding thoughts and poem
In conclusion, not all doctors listen to us either. That is why we all have to be our own advocates.
I am ending this post with a poem. These are my personal thoughts. Usually, I start each post with a poem. But I felt it stylistically fit at the end more because the above information is more factual . My emotional mess👇🏼.
Throw up your pain
Catch it with a cane.
Don’t let it go to vain.
Keep track of it for those who remain.
Learn, teach. Get rid of the stain.
Never forget the time spent and don’t waste in on blame.
Bargain your pain into a lesson –
stay in your lane .
If you enjoy information about neuropsychology, check out yesterday’s post about how our brain processes happiness.
Did someone ever think you were fake hurting? I believe you ❤️.