Overcoming Pain AP psychology

Essay by catfish8High School, 12th gradeA+, April 2005

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There are a number of ways to deal with pain that will lessen its intense effects or make it easier to withstand. Pain actually "hurts" less if a person feels in control and is not anxious. The ability to focus on something other than the hurting or to mask the pain in another way are also a helpful techniques to use to mitigate the effects of pain. Many of these ways to reduce pain are used in medical practices, such as Lemas natural childbirth method, when a person faces a painful experience or event.

Anxiety intensifies the feeling of pain. If a person is afraid that something will hurt, like getting an injection from a nurse, it will, in fact, feel more painful. By staying calm and discussing the fears beforehand, a person can reduce the anxiety about an event or procedure, and therefore reduce the feelings of pain. Pain is less intense if a person feels in control of the situation.

For example, if a child has knotty hair, it is sometimes less painful for her if she is allowed to brush it out herself at her own pace, rather than having someone else controlling her and brushing it out.

Distraction is often used as a technique to minimize pain. If a person thinks a procedure or event is painful, like going to the dentist, distractions from the pain such as soothing music can help to lessen the effects of pain. This works because of selective attention. We are able to tune in on a single sensory message while excluding others. When a person is presented with many stimuli, a bottleneck effect is created. When one message enters, in this case the music, it prevents others, such as the pain, from coming through.

Masking the pain can also lessen...

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