Pain management isn’t exactly a straightforward concept. Considering we all have different pain tolerances, it makes sense as to why we manage and experience pain differently, making it difficult to distinguish one objective way to manage pain effectively.
All of us arguably have methods we rely on to best control pain when it occurs, but an article from The Good News Network may change your method of choice when it comes to pain.
“New studies have confirmed that there is a link between the subjective experience of pain and the relative levels of neural activity in various sectors of the brain.
“However, these investigations have been carried out primarily in contexts in which the perception of pain was intensified either by emotional factors or by consciously focusing attention on the painful stimulus.
“Now, LMU neuroscientist Enrico Schulz, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Oxford, has asked how cognitive strategies that affect one’s subjective perception of pain influence the patterns of neural activity in the brain.
“In the study, 20 experimental subjects were exposed to a painful cold stimulus. They were asked to adopt one of three approaches to reducing the pain: (a) counting down from 1000 in steps of 7, (b) thinking of something pleasant or beautiful, and (c) persuading themselves, by means of autosuggestion, that the stimulus was not really that bad.
“During the experimental sessions, the subjects were hooked up to a 7T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to visualize the patterns of neural activity in the brain, which were later analyzed in detail.
“In order to assess the efficacy of the different coping strategies, participants were also asked to evaluate the subjective intensity of the pain on a scale of 0 to 100. The results revealed that the countdown strategy was the most effective of the three methods,” says the article.
I personally would never consider counting down backwards as a means to manage pain, but this evidence suggests otherwise.