Understanding why people feel pain differently: Disease versus Illness

Can you see now how the same body signal was interpreted so differently by these two people? Both had previous experiences that influenced the way they perceived and experienced their pain. There are many people who react the way person B did in our example, which means they seek medical care frequently and unnecessarily. This behavior is one of the factors that can explain why two people feel pain differently even if the underlying condition is identical.

In the next paper, we will discuss other factors that contribute to the different ways individuals feel and react to pain.

These topics are also covered in Dr. Mailis Gagnon’s book: Beyond Pain: Making the Mind-Body Connection

Angela Mailis Gagnon, MD, MSc, FRCPC(PhysMed)
Director, Comprehensive Pain Program,
Senior Investigator, Krembil Neuroscience Centre
Toronto Western Hospital,
Chair ACTION Ontario www.actionontario.ca

Keywords: pain