Pain. What is it? And is it normal?
“Of pain, you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain there are no heroes.” ~George Orwell
Pain is wrought in many forms, the ones clearest to us being the physical and the mental. Physical pain is the infliction or sensation of hurt on the body, giving rise to discomfort, sometimes aggravated to insufferable levels. Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience. According to medical diagnostics, it is a symptom. But a symptom of what, precisely, is the question. Whatever the cause of a pain, it is what makes us rush to a physician and want to be put out of our misery post- haste.
The English word “pain” probably comes from Old French (peine), Latin (poena — meaning punishment pain), or Ancient Greek (poine — a word more related to penalty), or a combination of all three.
At times, there may be no outward medical explanation for a pain, but that does not wipe out the need for an explanation or a treatment. Inflammation, muscle contractions, knotted musculature, injury, psychosomatic extension, drug side-effects, vitamin D deficiency, withdrawal symptoms from drugs, improper posture… oh, the list is endless. Needless to say, pain in any form can have a debilitating effect on the human body, it only differs in degree. From the crick in the neck, to the inflamed and sore joint, to the crippling post-traumatic injury pain, all are part of the same family. However, pain is not all bad. Any kind of pain flashes a signal that all is not well in our world, and we need to take care. At times, it also teaches us lessons, e.g., getting burnt or cut. Physical pain also has the capability of overriding mental agony, or at least deflect the enormity of it.
Pain has a quality of varying in degree. We can experience a dull ache somewhere, and put it on the back burner; a sharp, whiplash kind of pain occurs in a split second, that leaves us with a more painful body, e.g. the sudden yank of a chin-up. An electric pain can jolt us with a sharp stab, and play havoc with nerve endings. Inflammation can give rise to a burning, throbbing pain. A shooting pain rises from any part of the body and needles of it spread the agony. A chronic pain can be very serious and last for long periods of time. A tight pain can give the sensation of being squeezed, and so on.
In the fast-paced modern world, pain is rampant and usually numbed by our bodies trying to find efficiency. However, some pains occur more frequently, and are more commonly noticed. Some of these are headaches in varying degrees, the most severe ones being migraines. Low back pains are another common type; something we’ll dig into in our next blog. Most of these can safely be attributed to the modern lifestyle and eating habits; thanks to our computers and televisions.
No pain, therefore is insignificant enough to be ignored.