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Pain Explainer

By Timothy Cocks Education for all 19 Nov 2015

The Conversation is “a collaboration between editors and academics to provide informed news analysis and commentary that’s free to publish and read”, or as I like to think about it; “people who actually know about stuff writing about stuff without all the BS stuff that usually accompanies news.” The Conversation has long published Explainer pieces – posts written by experts, aimed at non-experts, covering everything from neutron stars and neuroscience, to geology and geopolitics.

The Conversation is promising a series of Explainers on Pain (with some work, that could make a great title for a book…) and Lorimer Moseley has written a cracking first entry:

Explainer: what is pain and what is happening when we feel it?

“Pain scientists are reasonably agreed that pain is an unpleasant feeling in our body that makes us want to stop and change our behaviour. We no longer think of pain as a measure of tissue damage – it doesn’t actually work that way even in highly controlled experiments. We now think of pain as a complex and highly sophisticated protective mechanism…

To reduce pain, we need to reduce credible evidence of danger and increase credible evidence of safety. Danger detectors can be turned off by local anaesthetic, and we can also stimulate the body’s own danger-reduction pathways and mechanisms. This can be done by anything that is associated with safety – most obviously accurate understanding of how pain really works, exercise, active coping strategies, safe people and places.” (emphasis added)

I think that the entire piece represents the most comprehensive ‘position statement’ on Lorimer’s current thinking about pain written for the non-expert public. This is something that could be shared with patients, as well as colleagues, mums, dads, sisters and brothers, friends and neighbours… – in fact, the more people it is shared with the better as this will encourage The Conversation to keep running stories on this important issue, which will in turn help to spread up to date and accurate knowledge about pain to more and more people.

-Tim Cocks


Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 5.14.26 pm
See, hear, touch, even smell Lorimer at EP3 2016 as he presents the most up to date pain science together with a few of his mates. Click on the image above for details and to purchase your ticket now.



  1. Reblogged this on videnomsmerter and commented:
    Smerte er et stort problem for op mod hver femte dansker – men der er alt for mange, der ikke forstår hvad kroniske smerter er og gør ved mennesker. Derfor er det dejligt at videnskabsformidling og populærvidenskab kan samarbejde om at udbrede viden om smerter!

  2. I have been reading a book by a man who was working at the turn of the century (1900) as a stage hypnotist and healer. He called himself ‘Santanelli’. I am stunned how ahead of his time he was. He is virtually unheard of, but just look at this quote:

    “Pain is a thought; the suggestion or cause exists. I pinch your arm; where do you feel it? In your arm? That is not true, because when you are chloroformed [anaesthetized] you do not feel it. You feel it in the brain … then it is a thought….”.

    Pain is a thought – brilliant. And this book was published in 1902. Throughout the book he queries and challenges the medical establishment for their DIMing and lack of SIMing. The sections on pain are very good, but the real value is the hundreds of case studies he recounts, both clinical and stage performances. He was able to drop subjects into such a deep trance that on many occasions they could not be awakened by any means. They had to “sleep it off”. This would rank him equal to Mesmer in terms of his power. Mesmer could also do this.

    Free online via Yales medical history archives.

  3. Joining a few dots:

    — Lack of SWS aggravates pain, irritability, inflammation [1]
    — SWS = lack of thoughts, lack of self-consciousness.
    — SWS can be increased markedly (80%) in suggestible subjects, using hypnosis. [2]
    — SWS can also be increaed by a very low carb diet. This is worth recommending to chronic pain clients. [3]


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