Did You Know: There are Similarities in the way our Brain Registers Emotional Pain, Heartbreak, and Physical Pain?
Posted on March 9, 2016
Across online forums, social media, and throughout our patient base, questions surrounding pain are ever flowing. One common inquiry surrounds the feeling of heartache or psychological loss in comparison to the generality of pain. Although most situations are unique with differing factors, there is research that supports our brain registering different types of pain the same way. Nonetheless, heartbreak, physical and emotional pain are crucial when determining the severity of one’s diagnosis and corresponding treatment method.
Understanding How Our Brain Registers & Treats Pain
In order to understand the concept of pain, the factors and outcomes need to be analyzed. Symptoms of emotional pain or heartbreak tend be underestimated simply because they’re experienced sooner than most people think. Emotional pain is also considered more of a mental instability where experience can play a role. Treatment methods often encompass a strong support network with therapy to ease the person back into a comfortable state of mind. Although some patients have higher levels of pain tolerance, treating physical pain is very similar. Let’s start by analyzing the cries of a newborn baby.
Most mothers can tell what “type of cry” their newborn baby is expressing. They often label them as “sad”, “hurt”, or even “scared” cries. That, in itself, differentiates the aforementioned types of pain while attributing an emotion to each. Let’s look into this further..
Unnecessary roughness towards an infant can obviously cause them to cry, but the same can be said about fear of the unknown during psychological separation. When a newborn is separated from it’s mother for the first time, their initial response tends to involve a distressful cry – of pain. This feeling of anxiety or sadness can be attributed to an alteration of a norm. A child knows something doesn’t feel right, and a sense of discomfort (or disruption if you may) has caused them to experience pain and their brain is notified.
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, a mother’s touch satisfies an infant’s need for comfort. The same stimulation is used to treat physically painful situations. Additionally, studies regarding emotional pain and acetaminophen have discovered the same relationship.
So, What Does this Mean?
Dealing with pain , whether it’s physical or emotional, can be devastating to some. Not only can the discomfort create frustration, it alters one’s quality of life. Managing pain on your own can be a difficult approach as psychological and neurological factors play a role in any type of pain. Although you can attempt to distract your mind or control your thoughts, it’s always best to seek the assistance of a medical professional or specialist.
When looking at treatment processes, we understand that physical pain may develop emotional pain and vice versa. Controlling the effects of pain and chronic illness are important, but determining what the root of the cause is can be more effective. If a patient putting themselves in danger or harm’s way because they’re emotionally unstable, then a psychological approach may be necessary. If someone is depressed, not as aware of their surroundings, or easily distracted, then they can be more susceptible to “accidental injury.” Chronic back pain that’s left untreated can develop depression, anger, or even frequent irritability and the patient may not even know it. There are hundreds of scenarios that can arise, which is why pain should not be taken lightly.
Although heartbreak isn’t the exact same as an open wound, most will continue to refer to them as the same type of feeling. Additionally, whether you’re dealing with loss or you think you broke your foot, treatment will always be the best option. At the end of the day, your brain knows that something “isn’t right” and until you understand what’s really wrong, you’re life will be continuously altered. Allow our medical assistants to aid you with this discovery process. With over 20 specialty solutions in Arizona, we have the ability to visit our patients in their homes, our clinics, or through telemedicine. We know that we cannot change the past and how your pain came about, but we aim to find the best solution for you to enjoy your future.