Five everyday myths that make it hard to understand pain

28 April 2014


Surprisingly for such a universal experience, pain is profoundly misrepresented by common myths about what it is and what it means. These are rooted in dualistic models: the body as a simple machine and the mind, distinct, receiving input from and sending orders to the machine. But pain emerges from recursive interaction of the brain and the body and constant adjustment of the system according to the organism’s priorities. So what are some of the most widespread misconceptions about how pain works? Here are five of the biggest myths, writes Dr Amanda C de C Williams (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in The Conversation.