Pain is an illusion?

One of the treatments that pain patients are likely to be offered during the opioid war is pain education. I would never pay for something that I can get for free on the internet (thanks, TED Talks):

Experts believe that if pain patients learn about how the brain works when it’s dealing with pain, it will help us to better manage it.

I’m all for patient education — you can’t make good choices without it. And this video is entertaining and uses symbolism to describe how it all works, without all those big medical terms that us patients can’t understand. (Yes, it feels like he’s talking down to me… just a little.)

Dr. Moseley uses the term “meaning,” which I take to mean our “perception” of pain. He goes on to try to convince the audience that “pain is an illusion 100% of the time.”

Dr. Moseley shows us an optical illusion, and I guess we’re supposed to jump to the conclusion that we should manage pain by convincing ourselves that the pain is just all part of some grand illusion. Our brains are trying to fool us, you see. The lesson being, if you can convince yourself that you’re not really in pain — Viola! The pain will disappear! I’m thinking it’s almost the same talk about chronic pain that Dr. Clauw gave in that video I posted yesterday, just a little more entertaining.

I think educating myself about the brain and pain has helped me make better decisions, but I would never say that this information has allowed me to better manage my pain. Knowing how amazing the brain is has not helped me at all…

Well, I guess educating myself has helped me to let go of doctors and the medical industry — an addiction that was extremely hard to break. (Doctors suck.)

6 thoughts on “Pain is an illusion?

  1. According to Buddhism, EVERYTHING is an illusion. But these lovely healthy individuals who try to sell these snake oil talks should, with my blessing, have a good case of shingles. Make that trigeminal neuralgia, same virus, bad place. It causes significant numbers of suicides because of the unrelenting 10/10 pain. But I’m not a sadist, so I would only give it to them for a month. But after that reprieve, if they went into pain-denial again, well..this one’s for life. I don’t want to be forced to resort to witchcraft to convince nay-sayers that there is legitimate need for pain medication, but…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Everything is an illusion? Are you (and Buddha) trying to say that we really do live in the Matrix? 🙂

      I would say that everything is perception, which is just our own individual understanding of reality. But it doesn’t mean that reality doesn’t exist… that we make it all up to suit our perceptions.

      I find it funny that you mention witchcraft, while last year, the media referred to opioids as a witch’s brew.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t watched this prior to my previous comment. Now I’m sorry I watched it, because my blood pressure is through the roof.

    Here’s this…guy…showing us all this sleight-of-hand stuff, and talking, yes, about how the afferent-efferent pain modulating system works (exclusive of neuromodulators, rather important), and giving us some fun facts about perception, while touching briefly upon the thalamic-hypothalamic feedback loop (the oh my god this hurts and is gonna hurt loop that connects pain with fear of more pain, which is what makes torture work).

    Yes, untreated pain can generalize. Yes, fear of pain intensifies pain. We are not jellyfish. Wait, I think some new research has come out about jellyfish and pain..scratch that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t mean to trash your whole profession, but it will be hard to convince me that doctors aren’t jellyfish. 🙂

      I know that fear of more pain can increase pain levels, just like looking at a Vicodin before you swallow it tells your brain that relief is coming, and so the brain begins this work before you even begin to digest the pill.

      I know that seeing drugs and hanging around people who do drugs can cause a drug addict to relapse.

      And I know that smelling an empty jar of bud does not give me any pain relief. I know that watching a video of others smoking bud does not give me any pain relief, either. Some brains are more easily tricked than others…

      Sure, the brain is capable of many wondrous things, but once the system that regulates pain signals is messed up, it ain’t ever gonna work right again. I guess doctors either don’t believe that or fail to tell their patients that. But what do I know? I ain’t no doctor. 🙂


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