For some people chronic pain can be disabling, while for others it is merely annoying. Just as pain is entirely subjective, your responses to pain and the responses of your family may vary widely. Some of you stay in bed when you hurt; some of you go about your business. Your unique experience of pain is based on many personal factors, including:
- Circumstances (context).
- Social influences.
- Prior experience with pain.
- Hormone levels.
There are countless examples of how these factors can influence your perception of pain. For instance, studies have identified a number of gender differences regarding pain perception. Women are likely to experience pain more often and with greater intensity, while men are less likely to seek help for and express their pain. Attitudes toward and expressions of pain also vary among different cultures. For example, Western cultures tend to have a much lower threshold for pain than some Asian cultures where pain is viewed as having spiritual meaning. If you have had a prior painful experience, you might expect this occurrence to go similarly, and that will affect your actions and, in turn, your pain. This blog post is an excerpt from Pain Recovery – How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM, Frank Szabo, LADC, Daniel Shiode, PhD, Robert Hunter, PhD; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).