Monday, November 1, 2010

Subconscious role in pain

Pain is very difficult to quantify and the physiology and physiology of pain isn't always clear cut. I think we have all experienced time when some kind of pain disappeared as we concentrated on something else. Then magically came back once we thought about it.

A study looks at autosuggestion and pain tolerance. Using subliminal messaging they either played words that were connected to a previous illness/pain event in their lives. Or they got neutral words, general body sensations or negative words.

What the study found was that pain threshold measured after this subconscious communication around previous illness decreased pain tolerance. That is accessing previous memories about a illness/pain event, even at a subconscious level made the mind susceptible to pain.

Reference: Esther E. Meermanlow  Bart Verkuila and Jos F. Brosschota Decreasing pain tolerance outside of awareness Journal of Psychosomatic Research doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2010.08.006  

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