August 22, 2017
I started doing really well earlier this summer and had several weeks where I was able to do at least some work every single day. Then an environmental trigger I have no control over happened and I got stuck in … Continue reading
August 19, 2016
The Girl Who Cried Pain The question changes from “Why do women and men differ in their experiences of pain?” to “How do women dampen the effect of powerful sex differences in physiological pain mechanisms to achieve only small sex … Continue reading
July 5, 2016
Clavus hystericus, sometimes called “hysterical headache,” is the clearest example of a gendered diagnostic category in this time period. In his Treatises on the Diseases of the Nervous System, James Ross describes hysterical headache as a variation of hysteria: “Hysterical Headache is met with in females, and is generally accompanied by other symptoms of hysteria. This form of headache is on the one hand closely allied to trigeminal neuralgia, and on the other to true migraine. The pain is sometimes diffused and deep-seated, but it is more frequently limited to one spot, and feels as if a nail were being driven through the skull; hence it is called ‘clavus.’ Hysterical headache is increased in severity during the menstrual period and by mental worry, whilst it is removed by amusement and anything which engages the attention.” “Hysterical tendencies” could distinguish the pain of clavus hystericus from other headache disorders, although authors were usually vague about what, exactly, constituted these symptoms. In his 1888 monograph on headache disorders, Allan Mclane Hamilton suggests only one objective distinction: “Hysterical women are very apt to complain of very great diffused hyperaesthesia of the scalp, so that the simple act of brushing the hair causes great distress.” (This complaint might now be diagnosed as allodynia, which is a pain condition associated with migraine.) Knowing which of his patients had what Hamilton called “neuralgia,” which is described in his book as having a solid biological basis, and which were merely hysterical was important for treatment, as hysterics “are more apt than any others to form the opium habit, or that of alcoholism, and great care should be taken lest, by yielding to their demands, we foster something worse than the headache or hysteria.”
Joanna Kempner in Not Tonight
Today’s discussions of the opioid epidemic and chronic pain, whose pain is real, and who deserves treatment echoes some very old discussions.
How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym — Science of Us
What utter bullshit. Next iteration of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I notice they’re not handing out you’re-so-successful-and-tough cookies to people with chronic pain or a thing for floggers.
Also if it actually worked like the article suggests, being uncomfortable would help me ignore chronic pain, not intensify it. Or I should be able to push through a marathon no problem because I’m so great at dealing with pain. Not true.
June 24, 2016
Although neurobiology offers a biological explanation for migraine, this explanatory framework may have less power to legitimate migraine if it is understood in terms that replicate already existing assumptions about men and women in pain.
stakeholders’ best attempts to legitimate migraine are undermined by cultural meanings of headache and migraine that are overlaid with assumptions about gender. These gender assumptions overdetermine how medical knowledge about headache disorders is produced, disseminated, and used.
Joanna Kempner in Not Tonight
Lady pain isn’t real pain.
The sensations of my own body may be the only subject on which I am qualified to claim expertise. Sad and terrible, then, how little I know. “How do you feel?” the doctor asks, and I cannot answer. Not accurately. “Does this hurt?” he asks. Again, I’m not sure. “Do you have more or less pain than the last time I saw you?” Hard to say. I begin to lie to protect my reputation. I try to act certain.
— Eula Biss, The Pain Scale
October 28, 2015
We like to think of ourselves as separate from our illness. We like to blame an outside source, whether it’s evil spirits or microbes, anything foreign, anything outside ourselves. We love to pinpoint the cause, to point to that tumor, that gene, that trauma, and say, Aha! There’s your problem! It’s comforting, because it reminds us that we are not our illness. Its ugliness is not our ugliness. We have free will, but our bodies have wills of their own, and though your body will decay, as long as you retain your will, you will retain your humanity, your soul, that part of you that might still be loved.
But to think that even that can be infected, and changed, and taken away— that’s the thought that keeps me up at night.
Source: » That Thing: A True Story Based on The Exorcist