Pain in its Personal and Medical Context Essay

Pain in its Personal and Medical Context Essay

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Amongst society there is a general consensus of what is physical pain. Pain is not good, it is something that hurts, and no one ever wants to actually be in pain. As infants and toddlers, we knew pain to be associated with cries, tears, and the word “ouch!” As we grew, pain and all of its expressions followed and branched out with us. Its dimensions multiplied and what used to hurt us as toddlers no longer does. At the same time, we began to experience new physical pains – pains which create such an unimaginable physical suffering. Today, pain remains as something unpleasant that causes physical suffering; however, it can be seen and interpreted from many different vantage points, one being the personal standpoint, where pain is described in terms of what it is like to have pain and how one cannot express the physicality of it. Another viewpoint is the neurobiological viewpoint, where neurologists have readily created three separate types of pain and explications for each.
In “The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World” by Elaine Scarry, she begins by making the immediate point that pain is difficult to express. She states that pain is unable to be shared verbally due to its detriment on the English language, as well as all other languages. Scarry takes into account that different cultures may have the tendency to verbalize their pain more than other cultures which are taught that the expression of feeling pain is a sign of weakness. However, even when accounting for the groups of people who express physical pain more often than others, she states no culture, nation, or country, has successfully created a language for the vocalization of pain, whereas in ancient Greece, there are accounts of drawn-out words used solel...


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...ations felt were simply engaged by the body in order to protect itself of any further damage. It is common for patients and doctors to not see eye to eye, but they do share some common ground, unbeknownst to the two. Both doctors and patients acknowledge that pain can be difficult to decipher and express to others. The contexts in which they do so are very different indeed, but this simple fact alone, may make the difference of whether or not society can create a language suitable for everyone and made by patients, those who suffer, and by doctors, those who speak on behalf of the suffering.



Works Cited

Scarry, Elaine. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of The World. New York: Oxford
UP, 1985. Print.
Woolf, Clifford J. "What Is This Thing Called Pain?" Journal of Clinical Investigation 120.11
(2010): 3742-744. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.

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