Pain, is it just an emotion?

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19/07/2007 at 18:37
Hello all,
After thinking long and hard for a while about pain and what it really is, I have a few things I would like to say and you can comment on my opinions. I have suffered with pattalear tendonitis for a while now and have being thinking that is pain just a sensation. I mean when I perform ceartian movements like squats I get a pain but it does not limit my mobility. I know and can draw a fine line between injurys that just cause pain and injurys that limit mobility. But surely if you have an injury that is just painfull you can carry on but if you have a injury that just limits mobility then you will have to stop. After all how do we know pain isnt a good thing we just assume pain is bad as we think it causes pain, this may be because we have learnt to take pain as a bad thing.

Id like to hear your ideas and opinions?
19/07/2007 at 20:30
Pain is weakness leaving the body.

Sometimes it takes it's bloody time though!
19/07/2007 at 22:04
I agree, but surely carrying on pain makes it get worse and then you can carry on through that. I don't see the problem with pain only if it limits mobility.
19/07/2007 at 23:09
err... because after a while something goes 'twang' and breaks in a major and terminal way and when you speak to the docs they say 'of course we can't fix it - why did you keep going if it hurt so much?'

My boss has just been in hospital to have his ankle fused, because he injured it playing football when he was 17, kept playing on it till it was completely knackered by the time he was 19, and has been in constant pain ever since. For just over 20 years. He now has zero mobility in it, none at all. It had to be done because the effect of limping on it was wrecking his knees and hips, and the alternative was amputation.

Be VERY VERY careful about which injuries you choose to try to run through, and be aware that you'll have to live with the consequences.

That said - it's your body. Sometimes you just know you have to run.
19/07/2007 at 23:11
Pain is a warning. Say I get a painful knee, it's a bit swollen but I could still run if I wanted to ignore it. So I do, it stays swollen, the cartilage softens and becomes more damaged - the pain gets worse but I still ignore the warning. Eventually I'm going to find my mobility impaired, probably permanently.
Yes, pain can be ignored and if you were a caveman being chased by a sabre toothed tiger you should indeed run provided your mobility isn't impaired. That's the environment this whole pain warning thing was designed for.
Of course not ignoring it makes you sit and think about it and that's what leads to threads like this. :-)
19/07/2007 at 23:13
You don't 'learn' about pain - it is innate.
19/07/2007 at 23:18
I disagree, pain is a sensation, sensations are both good and bad. The mind can train to thing that ceartian sensations are bad, and because we are told that pain is meant to hurt we thing it causes us pain. For example some people arent ticklish, i think this is because their mind is trained to not allow nerves to feel the sensation of being tickled. For example the brain has trained their nerves to think being tickled is normal therefore that person isnt ticklish. Like some people have higher pain thresholds, this is because their brain is trained to take pain as a different sensation as too people who have a lower pain threshold. Pain thresholds have nothing to do with muscle.
19/07/2007 at 23:22
livetorun, you are absolutley free to have your own opinion on this.

Hope you enjoy wheelchair racing.
19/07/2007 at 23:29
No, your quite wrong livetorun the pain still exists it is a bad feeling - it's how you cope with this bad feeling which varies.

Babies used to have their arses whacked to get them to breath once upon a time - they've just emerged from the womb... when did they get a chance to learn that pain is 'bad'?

19/07/2007 at 23:40
how do you know that the babies did not feel the pain?
Thanks, but no thanks slowboy i prefer racing on my legs at the moment.

PTI's have taught me that pain is weakness leaving the body, and I firmly believe in this!
19/07/2007 at 23:41
I think you can learn to ignore pain - but in the case of a running injury you'd be silly to try and ignore it so you could carry on running unless you knew you weren't aggravating the injury.
19/07/2007 at 23:53
LTR - my comment was to try to say that if you just ignore a serious injury eventually something will fail, terminally, in an irreparable way. Then your choices will be seriously limited.

It's one thing to be hard, and able to ignore the kind of pain that is transitory.

It's possible to be hard enough to train yourself to ignore the kind of serious pain that is trying to tell you that something is wrong, and is getting worse. It's a form of denial, and it can have serious consequences.

The choice is yours.

But, in answer to your question - no, pain is not 'just an emotion'. It is one of a number of subtle signals that your body provides which, if you heed them appropriately, will allow you to bring your body to it's full athletic potential.

If you choose to ignore them - and this is your choice, and it may be a valid one - you will live with the consequences, which may be a seriously limited capacity for performance, weight bearing, or basic movement.

We're all runners, I doubt there are any of us who haven't turned a niggle into a proper injury because we thought, oh, it's nothing, I can run through it. But because of this, and the time off it inevitable causes, we learn when to listen to the warning signs.

The mental attitude you seem to be actively trying to develop is one that may (and it is only 'may' - nothing is certain) result in long term physical damage and eventual disability.

If this makes me sound soft to you - fine. Like I've said, it's your choice. But I would strongly advise against taking the viewpoint you seem to be espousing. Simply trying to be a hard-case won't stop your body breaking down. It'll do it anyway.

Your call.
Do2    pirate
20/07/2007 at 00:08
As has been said.. pian is a warning - its a natural product of evolution (ducks out of the way of missiles from any Creationists out there) as those who choose to ignore it completely ultimately die out.

I agree though, that it can be useful to be able to "ignore" some pain - or rather be aware of it and choose to continue your activity for a while. This is the very basis of progressive over load isn't it - the underlying mechanism for most training regimens.

The trick is to know how far over the line you can go before you create too much damage for the body to be ablew to naturally repair ( and overcompensate enough for physiological development.)

To go back to your question as originally worded though... No. Pain is not an emotion. Pain is a message, your reaction to it will include an emotion.
20/07/2007 at 00:11
live to run - you appear to be getting all philosophical on us. It's only Thurs night! :)

It's good to push yourself and mental strength is important. But, as Slowboy has said, pain is your body's way of telling you something's wrong. For example; babies are often given a heel prick test when they're born - the natural, innate response is for the baby to pull their foot away, in other words away from the source of the pain. This is before their behaviour could possibly have been influenced by others and they obviously have no understanding of verbal communication.

In the case of running, if it hurts, keeps hurting, and things start getting swollen, your body is trying to warn you something isn't right and you would do well to heed that warning. Push yourself yes. Break yourself or prevent you from doing the thing you love just sounds foolish to me.

That's my pennies worth at least. I'm off to bed. Night.
20/07/2007 at 00:23
Its like those fillums when there's a special forces guy who shows how hard he is by holding his hand over the flame of a lighter and not flinching.

Well done mate you are well hard.

But I'm guessing that once the shock and awe have died down you won't be playing the piano for a few weeks.

Pain is the bodies way of alerting you to danger - this weakness leaving the body thing sounds like far eastern mystical nonsense to be honest.
20/07/2007 at 00:26
I understand and thanks for your opinions. These are my opinions, and some of them I don't believe in. I do ruin through pain, but I dont completley ignore it. It is just that for a while now I have being thinking if pain is a sensation then why do we not like it, we could learn for it not to affect us.

Anyway thanks for your input guys, feel free to write more, i find this quite a intresting topic. It may just be me having a hard army head and trying to reject the pain, but as i said just my thoughts.
20/07/2007 at 00:26
I understand and thanks for your opinions. These are my opinions, and some of them I don't believe in. I do ruin through pain, but I dont completley ignore it. It is just that for a while now I have being thinking if pain is a sensation then why do we not like it, we could learn for it not to affect us.

Anyway thanks for your input guys, feel free to write more, i find this quite a intresting topic. It may just be me having a hard army head and trying to reject the pain, but as i said just my thoughts.
Duck Girl    pirate
20/07/2007 at 00:28
Pain is a physical sensation, not an emotion. It's hardwired to be aversive, for a very good reason - it stops us damaging ourselves. There are various disorders where people have much reduced or no pain sensation, & they do themselves a lot of damage - for example leprosy.

I've got a weird (oftenest unusually high) pain threshold (my brain's wired up a bit odd), & this is actually quite annoying. I tend to get injuries which get worse than they should because I don't notice them, so I have to train myself to pay attention to little things & fix them before they stop me running. My performance also suffers because I'm not so good at noticing when I need more water or food, or too cold. It is really annoying when I manage to slice my legs by running through scratchy bushes or stinging nettles, & end up with muddy scratches which need loads of cleaning & sometimes get infected (and look stupid or alarming to housemates). I'm way lazier about stretching than I should be, but although short term it does not matter, then if I don't stretch then I get injured & have to stop to stop myself doing more damage even if I could carry on (& have to be extra-careful about returning too early). High pain thresholds are not always a good thing. I broke my arm pre-school & no-one realised for a few days (& my mum's a Health Visitor so she should be able to spot one!), & I've probably broken ribs a few times without anyone noticing.

Why some people aren't ticklish - it's a combination of physiological & psychological factors. Physiologically some people are unusually reactive to light pressure. Psychologically, the crucial factor seems to be control / expectancy, rather than being 'used' to it. You can't tickle yourself because you are in control.
20/07/2007 at 00:30
Don't know about "weakness leaving the body" being a far eastern mystical thing.

But I've seen it on the back of a No Fear T-Shirt, if that counts ;)
20/07/2007 at 00:33
I would be interested to see the reaction of a patient with chronic rheumatoid arthritis if i told them the pain in their hands was just "weakness leaving their body"!

The far eastern thing was inspired by Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu lifting the brazier of hot coals btw!
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