Pain: The Intersection of Sensation and Emotion


Daniel B Carr MD MA, Tufts University School of Medicine

Dr Carr ones with a powerful statement: Pain itself is a disease. There are a number of causes, and types, of disease (heart disease, lung disease etc) but once they become established and manifest as pain, they have similarities. Dr Carr believes that having access to pain control is a human right. Pain is a public health issue. Pain professionals view it it as a disease, which can be understood as a combination of pathology, host and environment. Definition discussion (Williams and Craig, 2016).

Loeser’s Pain Model (1980)

Pain, Dr Carr suggests, is a public health issue (O’Brien et al, 2017) and lower back pain is argued to be a global disability.

Pain treatment is also about prevention, and there is a public health, socio-economic, societal and cost benefit to treating it simply, effectively, and early.

Citation of white paper: Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Also Wager 2013.

Dr Carr asks the audience “What’s the most common and effective analgesic?”. We mumble Ibuprofen, aspirin etc. He suggests that human contact is one of the most effectiveanalgesic, pain being so heavily influenced by subjective and psychological factors.

In 2006, Dr Carr co-authored a study of randomized control trials (Carr et al 2006) of the effectiveness of music as a contributor to pain management.

“Listening to music reduces pain intensity levels and opioid requirements, but the magnitude of these benefits is small and, therefore, its clinical importance unclear.”

Carr et al 2006, authors’ conclusions

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