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Pain is Psychophysical

Did you know that pain is now considered psychophysical? This means that our perception of pain has an emotional/psychological component and a physical component. Turns out that our brain's perception of the danger associated with an injury may elevate your experience of pain. For example, have you had the experience of looking down and realizing that you are bleeding? This may be from a bug bite or may be you brushed up against something sharp and didn’t even notice the injury. What catches your attention is the feeling on your skin of something wet. Yet, there is no pain just the sensation of something wet. Now you see it. Your brain responds, “Oh no, I’m bleeding!” Then the pain sets in – either a little or a lot based on the wound you are seeing. The emotional reaction works with your brain to send signals of pain to the area of the wound! Attending the wound and some self-soothing are in order. Here are two quick things you can do to soothe your nervous system whether pain is involved or not. The eye patch technique (Dr. Kaplan, 1987). Cover the right eye while keeping the left eye open. This will slow down the activity in the left (thinking) brain creating a sense of calm. You can then switch to cover the left eye. Alternating the eye cover strengthens the connection between your two halves of your brain. The second technique is a simple counting breath. Count to 4 as you breathe in, hold it for a moment, then breathe out counting to 6. This helps you to slow down, focus, and become more present. I hope you find this information useful!

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