Pain is a spontaneous reaction of our body but while we perceive pain as something negative, the fact is that pain happens for one primary reason and that is to protect us. Think of it this way. Whenever we feel pain, don’t we stop doing the thing that we believe caused that pain? For example, if reading in too dim a light gives you a headache, you will stop doing it once you realize this habit was causing you pain. Or if running in a certain pair of shoe caused your feet to hurt, you would stop wearing those shoes and replace them for a better pair. The point is that pain is our body’s way of warning us that something might be harming us or that something that we are doing is affecting us negatively.

There are different types of pain. Pain can be mild, moderate or severe and pain can be short-term or long term. Generally speaking, any pain that is the result of an accident or injury such as a broken arm or a cut is classified as acute pain. As soon as that injury is healed, the pain tends to disappear. However, persistent pain that might be caused by other reasons such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and other physical disorders is classified as chronic pain. It requires a long-term treatment approach and in some cases, continuous management to ensure a pain-free existence.

Finally, there is chronic pain that is caused by our unconscious mind. That pain should not be there, but there is an underlying reason why it exists. TMS pain falls into this category, and even though the pain may be excruciating, it serves a purpose. It communicates to the person experiencing the pain that they need to resolve certain psychological issues if they want to get rid of this pain.

We should think of pain as a sense just like sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. While these five senses help us understand our external environment, pain tells us what’s happening inside our body. What most people fail to understand is that there are some people who experience pain without an actual physical cause. Take migraines or example. Till today, doctors have not been able to figure out their exact cause. The headaches migraine patients suffer from are not the result of an injury. Nor are these headaches caused by inflammation. There is no nerve damage either. So why do patients with a migraine suffer from pain? The answer remains unclear. Similarly, healthcare providers always try to find a physical cause in chronic pain patients but sometimes they are stumped because none of the medical tests and reports suggests any physical abnormality. The problem is that these people are missing one important element: the psychological aspect of pain.

The phrase “no pain no gain” is actually very true. Pain is imperative for our survival. If we did not feel pain, we would never know what was good or bad for us. If you did not feel pain while walking on fire, you would get burnt, but you wouldn’t even know that such a risk existed if you did not feel pain from the burns. It is the fact that burn injuries can be extremely painful do we know that anything that has the potential to burn our skin is dangerous for us.

What I’m trying to say is that we need to understand pain. We need to change our perception of pain. Yes, pain is challenging to deal with. Yes, pain can interfere and alter our normal daily lives. Yes, pain makes us feel helpless and powerless. But pain is not bad. Pain is not there to hurt you, but it is there to protect you from hurting any further. Be it acute pain or chronic pain. Be it physical pain or psychological pain. Every type of pain has a purpose and every time of pain should be taken seriously.  Until and unless you understand the cause of your pain, you would not be able to understand what’s going inside your body. Make the best use of this additional sense. Use pain to your advantage to find out unresolved problems and issues. Your life would be much improved and much better after that.

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