The Illusion of Pain – Context is Key

On Psychology and Neuroscience

A recent study found that nearly 50 million adults in the United States experience chronic or severe pain, which is more than cancer and diabetes combined (American Pain Society, 2015). Another study indicated that chronic pain costs the US up to $635 billion (ScienceDaily, 2012). The problem of chronic pain in our society has become a national epidemic. Lorimer Moseley is a clinical and research physiotherapist as well as a Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and Chair in Physiotherapy at the University of South Australia, who has dedicated the majority of his research to investigating the role of the brain in chronic pain. In his Ted Talk entitled “Why Things Hurt”, Moseley artfully and comically shows that pain is designed to be a protective instinct that varies significantly depending on the context in which the pain is experienced. In order to illustrate this phenomenon, Moseley relates two incidents that happen in…

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