Monday, May 20, 2019 at 11:16AM
Drew Wolfe

How The Brain Shapes Pain And Links Ouch With Emotion

"When Sterling Witt was a teenager in Missouri, he was diagnosed with scoliosis. Before long, the curvature of his spine started causing chronic pain."

"It was 'this low-grade kind of menacing pain that ran through my spine and mostly my lower back and my upper right shoulder blade and then even into my neck a little bit,"' Witt says."

"The pain was bad. But the feeling of helplessness it produced in him was even worse."

"'I felt like I was being attacked by this invisible enemy,' Witt says. 'It was nothing that I asked for, and I didn't even know how to battle it.'"

"So he channeled his frustration into music and art that depicted his pain. It was 'a way I could express myself,' he says. 'It was liberating.'"

"Witt's experience is typical of how an unpleasant sensation can become something much more complicated, scientists say."

"'At its core, pain is just something that hurts or makes you say ouch,' says Karen Davis, a senior scientist at the Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto. 'Everything else is the outcome of the pain, how it then impacts your emotions, your feelings, your behaviors.'"


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