Skip to main content

Pain Threshold and Pain Tolerance

Pain Threshold and Pain Tolerance

Some of the things presented on this blog refer to the terms pain threshold and pain tolerance.
After thinking about it for some time,  I came to realize that some of my readers would have no idea what I am talking about!  If you didn't know any better you might even think that they were just two different ways to say the same thing. So, today, I am going to clear that up for you.





Pain threshold refers to the "least experience of pain that that a person can recognize."
Of course, this varies from person to person.  Depression affects a person's pain threshold in the sense the pain threshold is reached earlier in a person with depression than in someone who does not have depression.  

You might visualize the pain threshold much like crossing the threshold at the entrance of a house or other structure.  As you approach the doorway, you are still outside (outside the realm of pain); once you step across the threshold you are inside (inside the realm of pain).




Pain tolerance , on the other hand, refers to an upper limit.  It can be defined as "The greatest level of pain that a person is prepared to tolerate." Again, this is subjective and will probably not be the same from one individual to another.  As in pain threshold, pain is less tolerable to an individual with depression than it is  in depression free persons.

This can be visualized by visualizing the ceiling of a room.  Does the room (pain tolerance) have a low ceiling (low tolerance for pain) or a high ceiling (higher tolerance for pain)?


In the realm of pain management, this is all important for a number of reasons. For one, a low pain threshold and/or pain tolerance may be suffering from depression. The depression could be a preexisting condition, or it could actually be caused by a chronic illness/chronic pain condition. In either case, addressing depression issues will improve the patient's pain threshold and pain tolerance.

Sources: Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pain; geograph.org.uk;wikimedia



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Living with Chronic pain hits the big screen!

Been to the movies lately?  Jennifer Aniston is on the big screen in a recent release titled "Cake."
Her character, Claire is a victim of chronic pain...she belongs to a support group, where all of the members are coming to terms with the suicide of one of their members.  Of course, she also takes pain medication and addiction is another of her problems...and of course there's more!

I guess I am writing this post just to bring readers' attention to the fact that Hollywood has become aware of the crisis that is chronic pain.  This movie is a testament to that. People that don't have to live with this kind of pain don't fully understand the whole story.  Maybe this movie will shed some light on the issues.

Here is the official trailer for the movie:


Sources: prweb;NorthJersey.com;YouTube


Herpes As A Helper?

If you've ever had shingles, or known anyone that has experienced it, you probably know that chronic pain can persist following the initial attack (post herpetic neuralgia).  This is because the herpes virus seems to have an affinity for nerve cells.  And while it's not fun to have shingles or post herpetic neuralgia, the herpes virus may be a key in future development of delivery systems for pain management treatments.





Here's the deal--since Herpes simplex has an affinity for nerve cells, researchers are looking a genetically modified, safer version of the virus to deliver genetic material to damaged nerves.  In simple terms, once the genetic material reaches these nerve cells, it will hopefully encode these nerves to ultimately inhibit pain signals.  Animal studies and clinical trials in cancer patients have been encouraging thus far.

This is one of those developments that makes me believe that there is hope for those in chronic pain. Along with so many other exciting d…

The Knee Bone's Connected To The Leg Bone....

Two recent studies have brought a not-so-novel concept into the limelight-the concept being that people who present with knee pain often develop pain in other parts of their bodies.  These studies, known as the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST) and the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), were assessed by a Clinical Epidemiology Team as Boston University School of Medicine in an effort to find preventive strategies to combat this trend.




The authors suggest that knee pain may cause individuals to alter their gait in an effort to compensate for their discomfort. In doing so, the alignment of other body joints is altered, and this may be the cause of secondary joint pain, especially hips and ankles. The authors go on to say that the pain in these secondary sites is not necessarily osteoarthritis--perhaps bursitis or some other injury.

Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear in the joints.  We may not be able to completely eliminate osteoarthritis from occurring, but some common se…