This paper offers an evolutionary account of chronicpain. Chronicpain is a maladaptive by-product of pain mechanisms and neural plasticity, both of which are highly adaptive. This account shows how evolutionary psychology can be integrated with Flanagan's natural method, and in a way that avoids the usual charges of panglossian adaptationism and an uncritical commitment to a modular picture of the mind. Evolutionary psychology is most promising when it adopts a bottom-up research strategy that (...) focuses on basic affective and motivational systems (as opposed to higher cognitive functions) that are phylogenetically deep. (shrink)
Pains that persist long after damaged tissue hasrecovered remain a perplexing phenomenon. Theseso-called chronic pains serve no useful function foran organism and, given its disabling effects, mighteven be considered maladaptive. However, a remarkablesimilarity exists between the neural bases thatunderlie the hallmark symptoms of chronicpain andthose that subserve learning and memory. Bothphenomena, wind-up in the pain literature andlong-term potentiation (LTP) in the learning andmemory literature, are forms of neuroplasticity inwhich increased neural activity leads to a longlasting (...) increase in the excitability of neuronsthrough structural modifications at pre- andpost-synaptic sites. Moreover, the synapticmodifications of wind-up and LTP share a commonmechanism: a glutamate N -methyl-D-aspartate(NMDA) receptor interaction that initiates a calciummediated biochemical cascade that ultimately enhancessignal processing at the -amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazoleproprionic acid (AMPA) receptor. This paper arguesthat chronicpain, which has no adaptive value, canbe accounted for in terms of the highly adaptivephenomenon of activity-dependent neural plasticity;hence, some cases of chronicpain can beconceptualized as a memory trace in spinal neurons. (shrink)
Throughout the Western world people turn towards the health care system seeking help for a variety of psychosomatic/psychosocial health problems. They become “patients” and find themselves within a system of practises that conceptualizes their bodies as “objective” bodies, treats their ill health in terms of the malfunctioning machine, and compartmentalizes their lived experiences into medically interpreted symptoms and signs of underlying biological dysfunction. The aim of this article is to present an alternative way of describing ill health and rehabilitation using (...) the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty in order to deepen our understanding of the rehabilitation process. I will explore how the experience of chronicpain ruptures the natural connection between body and world and how the rehabilitation process can be understood as the re-insertion of the body into the flow of experience, where the body “disappears” into its natural silence in order to allow the world to once again unfold. The experience of chronicpain places the painful body in focus, resulting in a diminished articulation of both self and world. Persons with illness suffer not only from the physical aspects of pain and discomfort but also from a loss of identity where one feels alienated and detached from things that used to give meaning to ones life. Rehabilitation must not only address the material (medical) body but also the diminished sense of self as well as the retreat from the world outside of the painful body. (shrink)
As the above quote clearly highlights, it is the responsibility of researchers and research supervisors to be certain that their research staff and students assistants are very familiar with all of the ethical principles and current standards relevant to the research they are conducting. Indeed, they must take an active role in being certain that their research staff and students complete appropriate training in these ethical principles and standards, and how they apply them to the research context in which they (...) are working. This is especially important in areas in which there may be physical harm such as chronicpain research. (shrink)
The nosological status of the putative clinical entity of compensation neurosis and the relationship of chronicpain complaints to compensation are explored. It is concluded that, using the traditional criteria of diagnostic validity, there is no support for the view that a specific type of psychiatric disorder related to compensation or litigation can be demonstrated. Although it has been generally considered that chronicpain complaints reflect an underlying disease state, recent evidence has shown that in the (...) medico-legal setting the nature of the compensation system and the level of available benefits have a marked influence on both the rate of chronicpain complaints and the duration of pain related work incapacity. (shrink)
As the above quote clearly highlights, it is the responsibility of researchers and research supervisors to be certain that their research staff and students assistants are very familiar with all of the ethical principles and current standards relevant to the research they are conducting. Indeed, they must take an active role in being certain that their research staff and students complete appropriate training in these ethical principles and standards, and how they apply them to the research context in which they (...) are working. This is especially important in areas in which there may be physical harm such as chronicpain research. During the past decade, there has been a great increase in research of chronicpain, with breakthroughs in better understanding its etiology, assessment, and treatment (1,2). Obviously, much of this research was conducted using humans and animals as subjects. As a consequence, there were a number of ethical issues that investigators have to be cognizant of when conducting their studies. In this chapter, we will discuss such ethical issues in three major areas: (i) laboratory research with human subjects; (ii) laboratory research with animals; and (iii) translating these laboratory research ﬁndings to ‘‘real world’’ applications in the clinical treatment arena. (shrink)
Jones, Kate The insights into the physiology of the chronicpain are presented, considering the fact that the physiology of pain and the range of personal factors that influence pain are complex. Even though substantial evidence suggests that strategies could be applied to assist chronicpain patients to endure some of the effects of long-term pain, a pain management strategy that works for one person might not be effective for another.
Pain management has improved in the past few decades. Opioid analgesics have become the mainstay in the treatment of cancer pain whilst inter-disciplinary pain management programmes are the generally accepted approach to chronicpain of non-malignant origin. Recently some pain specialists have advocated the use of opioids in the long-term management of non-cancer pain. This has raised some fundamental questions about the purpose of pain management. Is it best to opt for maximum (...)pain relief and comfort, or should one emphasise function and activity as higher priorities? Will the use of opioids create more autonomy for pain sufferers or will this add handicaps to lives which are already limited? Until more clinical outcome data are available we advocate caution in the use of opioid analgesia. Such caution can, and does, raise questions about the rights of the patient and the rights of the prescriber in a context where the facts do not point to a clear course of action. (shrink)
An in-depth analysis of the post-secondary learning experiences of three women revealed that their decisions to participate in college and university courses in Canada were interconnected with lived experiences of chronicpain. A causal link between chronicpain and returning to learning was an unexpected outcome of a study focusing on women’s learning experiences in post-secondary institutions. Each woman in this study learned to cope with and adapt to her chronicpain, and over time, (...) returned to learning to undertake new areas of study to accommodate a redefinition of self based on chronicpain. Eventually chronicpain became a conduit to more positive experiences of learning and reflection. The role and meaning of chronicpain in the learning equation represents a blind spot in the existing educational literature and it is through such indepth, descriptive stories of participants that we learn how this invisible barrier may influence the learning decisions of women. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology , Volume 4, Edition 1 July 2004. (shrink)
The point of departure for this essay is the question of why pain is seriously undertreated in the United States. Some kinds of pain (for example, chronic nonmalignant pain) are treated worse than others (acute pain secondary to cancer), but there is excellent evidence that no matter what kind of pain, astonishingly large percentages of pain sufferers are undertreated (Furrow 2001; Hill 1995; Kirou-Mauro et al. 2009; Martino 1998; Morris 1991; NCHS 2006; Resnik, (...) Rehm, and Minard 2001). Although some kinds of pain are difficult to treat, we generally possess the technical armamentarium to significantly ameliorate the vast majority of pain experiences. Yet we do not. And, for as long as anyone in the United States .. (shrink)
The central hyperexcitability observed in animal models supports a pathophysiological explanation for chronic human pain. Novel information on cholecystokinin (CCK) upregulation offers a rationale for reduced opioid response in neuropathic pain. However, the basic information provided by scientists should not lead clinicians to equate experimental models to chronic human conditions. Clinicians should provide careful reports and attempt to classify pathophysiologically clinical conditions that have so far been grouped generically. [blumberg et al.; coderre & katz; dickenson; wiesenfeld-hallin (...) et al.]. (shrink)
Effective use of coping strategies by people with chronicpain conditions is associated with better functioning and adjustment to chronic disease. Although the effects of coping on pain have been well studied, less is known about how specific coping strategies relate to actual physical activity patterns in daily life. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how different coping strategies relate to symptoms and physical activity patterns in a sample of adults with knee and hip (...) osteoarthritis (N = 44). Physical activity was assessed by wrist-worn accelerometry; coping strategy use was assessed by the ChronicPain Coping Inventory. We hypothesized that the use of coping strategies that reflect approach behaviors (e.g., Task Persistence), would be associated with higher average levels of physical activity, whereas avoidance coping behaviors (e.g., Resting, Asking for Assistance, Guarding) and Pacing would be associated with lower average levels of physical activity. We also evaluated whether coping strategies moderated the association between momentary symptoms (pain and fatigue) and activity. We hypothesized that higher levels of approach coping would be associated with a weaker association between symptoms and activity compared to lower levels of this type of coping. Multilevel modeling was used to analyze the momentary association between coping and physical activity. We found that higher body mass index, fatigue, and the use of Guarding were significantly related to lower activity levels, whereas Asking for Assistance was significantly related to higher activity levels. Only Resting moderated the association between pain and activity. Guarding, Resting, Task Persistence, and Pacing moderated the association between fatigue and activity. This study provides an initial understanding of how people with osteoarthritis cope with symptoms as they engage in daily life activities using ecological momentary assessment and objective physical activity measurement. (shrink)
While the biomedical model is still theleading paradigm within modern medicine and healthcare, and people with generalised chronicmusculoskeletal pain are frequent users of health careservices, their diagnoses are rated as having thelowest prestige among health care personnel. Anepistemological framework for understanding relationsbetween body, emotions, mind and meaning is presented.An approach based on a phenomenological epistemologyis discussed as a supplement to actions based on thebiomedical model.Within the phenomenological frame of understanding,the body is viewed as a subject and carrier ofmeaning, and (...) therefore chronicpain can be interpretedas a rational reaction to the totality of a person'slife situation. Search for possible hidden individualmeanings in painful muscles presupposes meeting healthpersonnel who view the person within a holistic frameof reference. (shrink)
Dysfunction or injury of pain-transmitting primary afferents' central pathways can result in pain. The organism as a whole responds to such injury and consequently many symptoms of neuropathic pain develop. The nervous system responds to painful events and injury with neuroplasticity. Both peripheral sensitization and central sensitization take place and are mediated by a number of biochemical factors, including genes and receptors. Correction of altered receptors activity is the logical way to intervene therapeutically. [berkley; blumberg et al.; (...) coderre & katz; dickenson; mcmahon; wiesenfeld-hallin et al.]. (shrink)
This paper is another of the papers presented at a conference on Pain organised under the auspices of the London Medical Group. Mark Swerdlow deals with the work of pain relief clinics and explores their value. He gives the background as to what these clinics are, describes who is treated, how they are staffed and finally offers his opinion as to their effectiveness.
Pain is not a primitive sensory event but rather a complexperception and a process by which a person interacts with theinternal and external environments, constructs meaning, andengages in action. Because folk beliefs are central to meaning,folk concepts of pain play multiple causal roles in a painpatient's interaction with health care providers and others.In every case, the notion of pain is linked to a goal-directedbehavior that is useful to the person. The wide variation inconcepts of pain across (...) individuals suffering with painunderscores the richness and complexity of the pain experience.In some cases involving chronicpain, the patient may form amaladaptive cluster of behaviors around the concept of pain.Patient beliefs and expectations are an important part of manychronic pain syndromes, and patients can benefit fromintervention directed at revising the individual's folk model of pain. Memetics offers a framework for identifying the memesthat patients hold and determining whether patient memes fitor clash with provider memes. (shrink)
Here is a thoroughly updated edition of a classic in palliative medicine. Two new chapters have been added to the 1991 edition, along with a new preface summarizing where progress has been made and where it has not in the area of pain management. This book addresses the timely issue of doctor-patient relationships arguing that the patient, not the disease, should be the central focus of medicine. Included are a number of compelling patient narratives. Praise for the first edition (...) "Well written. . .should be read by everyone in medical practice or considering a career in medicine."---JAMA. "Memorable passages, important ideas, and critical analysis. This is a book that clinicians and educators should read."---New England Journal of Medicine. (shrink)
Context: Despite the fact that pain and body awareness are by definition subjective experiences, most studies assessing these phenomena and the relationship between them have done so from a “third-person” perspective, meaning that they have used methods whose aim is to try to objectify the phenomena under study. Problem: This article assesses the question of what is the impact of a widespread chronicpain condition in the bodily experience of persons suffering from fibromyalgia. Method: I used an (...) interview methodology stemming from a phenomenological approach called the “elicitation interview.” Results: The results indicate that the intensification of fibromyalgia pain does in fact affect different aspects of body awareness: in particular, experienced body size, weight and localization, as well as the experience of owning one’s own body. In addition, these disruptions in patient’s body awareness have as a result, a modification of the experience of pain, leading to the apparently paradoxical experience of being in pain while not feeling it. Implications: The elicitation interview approach made it possible to gather and analyze descriptions of the bodily experience of persons suffering from fibromyalgia. This approach allowed the consideration of the hypothesis that the disruption of implicit knowledge of the topography of patients’ bodies prevents them from referring to the pain sensation in terms of its localization and intensity, transforming the sensation in a way that is experienced as paradoxical. Further studies should be conducted that focus on the interplay between attention, pain and body perception. Constructivist content: The study presented in this article is framed within the perspective that the study of conscious phenomena should consider a first-person perspective, which is in line with constructivist approaches. (shrink)
The theme of my target article was dysfunction of inhibition in the spinal cord as an important factor in the development of chronicpain states. Some commentaries focused on the role of more central mechanisms and the limited usefulness of animal models for understanding mechanisms of human pain. More specific comments concerned the roles of GABA and cholecystokinin in pain control.