Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Jan 25, 2006


My recent experience with cracking my radius (ever so slightly) has gotten me to thinking about the odd disparities I've noticed in how different people react to pain. I'm not talking about strictly physical pain, either.

Some of the pain-management strategies I've noticed:

1. Medication. Personally, I am not too thrilled with this strategy because painkillers are generally not very good for you. Medications for emotional pain are often even worse, plus they don't work. Self-medication is a BIG no-no.

2. Stoicism. Popular with men. Seems to work best in conjunction with:

3. Displacement activity. This tends to be my strategy, and my favorite displacement activity is a lengthy conversation about all the things that are currently causing me pain. I can understand why people find me obnoxious when I'm not feeling so hot. If it gets really bad I revert to number 2, in which case I don't want to have anything to do with anyone under any circumstances. They distract me.

4. Hysterics and/or freaking out. Small children do this. If you're 40 and you do this, you need to snap out of it.

5. Fainting. Only works in emergencies. Since I've never fainted in my life, I can't attest as to its effectiveness.

Almost everything I've read contributes to the same idea: toughness is mostly a thing of the mind. Meaning, ultimately, you can gain control over your reactions and not panic. It's an important skill to cultivate, believe it or not. Pain happens when something in your life is going wrong. The only effective tool you have for correcting the problem is your mind, and it doesn't function if you've fainted, gone into hysterics, or medicated it out of reality.


EdMcGon said...

Personally, I prefer anti-inflammatories (i.e. ibuprofen or aspirin). Since the body's inflammation response is the cause of most pain, it just makes sense to cut back on that to relieve most of your pain. Whatever is left is usually tolerable.

Jennifer Snow said...

I'm on 800 mg Ibuprofen tablets, which are approximately the size of .22 caliber bullets. I think there's some subtext in the Hippocratic Oath about how they have to try and give you something that's nearly impossible to swallow to test your determination. If you take it, you are inducted to the 13th level, the one where the office stops screwing up your insurance and sending you a bill anyway.

I didn't think aspirin was anti-inflammatory, but I looked it up and lo, it was. Learn something new every day.

EdMcGon said...

Got the ibuprofen horse tablets, aye?

By the way, the office NEVER stops screwing up your insurance. Nice thought though.