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Can pain be good for you? (2)

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By Femi Ogunyemi

A study by the Good Samaritan Hospital Heart Institute in Los Angeles showed that people who have no angina pain before a heart attack are almost twice as likely to die from the attack as those who had suffered angina.

And, recently, British scientists have discovered that the intense pain suffered during a heart attack may help save lives. Blocking it with powerful drugs may worsen the victim’s chances of survival.

They found that during a heart attack, pain signals from cardiac nerves help to attract stem cells from bone marrow to repair damage, and restore blood flow after a clot has starved the heart of oxygen-carrying blood.

Apparently each painful episode of angina may actually toughen the cardiac muscle, so it will survive a heart attack with less damage.

There may be other ways in which severe pain may keep us healthy. Swelling, mild fever and soreness are all signs our body has set off an inflammatory reaction in response to an infection or damage. If unchecked, these defences can cause serious harm to healthy tissue, which is what happens in chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis.

People experience pleasure during a painful stimulus if the stimulus turns out to be less bad than they were expecting.

Some enjoy the burn of hot chili peppers or find painful sex as pleasurable.

When nerves are injected with local anaesthetic, the pain fibres are blocked….there is NO pain. That area must be protected from burns, pressure sores or trauma.

The sensation of pain is a natural warning sign.

When we do a certain block called celiac plexus block ..for people with terminal pancreatic cancer…we have to prepare for what often happens AFTER the pain is suddenly alleviated. The sudden pain relief leads to rapid  unconsciousness. The patient HAD been kept alive and awake by the pain! Removal of the pain causes coma.

So pain can be a good thing in the sense it alerts us to different disease processes.

Our goal often is to control  it, yet allow people to function in their lives.


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