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Psychology Paper on Pain

Pain Veronica Tran Essay #1 Psy 1 (#48954) Pain Everyone everywhere will experience pain; whether it is everyday or once a week. Paper cuts, pinches, or even simply jamming your fingers between your door, are all painful accidents. Pain is the undesirable feeling; the red alert which signals our attention to something unfavorable happening to our bodies.

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Our bodies can detect pain by nocioceptors. Nocioceptors are special nerve receptors designed for stimuli that are encountered as painful (Benjamin B. Lahey, 2009). There are two significant pathways these neural pain messages travel to our brain; fast and slow.

The fast and slow pathways are the reason why our bodies endure pain at different times. The first experience would be a noticeable short pain, and realization of what’s going on. The second experience is an extended painful sensation. An example of the pathways combined would be dropping a 15lb weight on your foot. First sensation would quickly make u move that weight off and then stare at your foot. The second would make you land on the floor holding your foot while screaming. We experience these divided painful sensations for two reasons.

Both experiences are on two different paths with two different speeds to our brains. The neurons are thicker, covered in myelin in the fast path making the movement quick. The slow pathway consists of smaller neurons, no myelin, and in result makes the transmission slow. Reason number two, both pathways go through different parts in our brains. The fast neural pathway moves through our thalamus and to the matosensory area. The matosensory area is located in the parietal lobe of the brains cerebral cortex. It receives and translates the sensory information from our skin and body.

Which is how we are capable of locating where and what is happening to our bodies. The matosensory area locates the action but is not responsible for our emotional reactions to pain. Information moving on the slow pathway travels to the limbic system. The limbic system is where we feel the emotional experience to the pain that is happening. The gate-control theory of pain was conducted by Psychologist Ronald Melzack. The theory was that in the brain stem, a matrix of neurons regulates the circulation of impulses from the nocioceptors to the cerebral cortex.

Messages from the body’s receptors go to the brain and through the brain stem. The “pain gates” is the area where the slow pain neural fibers pass. The gates in the brain stem can either be opened or closed. This really means this has part in making us more or less sensitive to the activation of the nocioceptors. When “opened” the gates can allow more slow-pain neural transmission on to the slow path to the limbic system. Therefore our emotional experience to the pain lasts longer. The gates can also be “closed”; that is less transmission of slow pain impulses, in result less pain.

Fast pathway does not travel through the gates, but cannot be blocked. Endorphins signal the gates to close, preventing pain message from reaching the brain. Cancer can develop pain all on its own because it is cancer. The main cause of pain in cancer is the growing or destroying tissue near or on the cancer infected area. Cancer pain can come from where the cancer had developed. Or other areas spread around the body where the cancer had traveled. During the time when the tumor matures, it can begin to hit nerves, bones, or other organs causing physical pain to the patient.

Not only can cancer be painful physically to the body, but it can also cause pain chemically. Chemicals they secrete into the region of the tumor can cause pain. Not everyone diagnosed with cancer experiences pain, usually one out of 3 cancer patients going through treatment does (Timothy Moynihan, 2010). Pain concerning cancer always depends on what type of cancer the patient is diagnosed with. Those who have advanced cancer; that is cancer that has spread or reoccurred, unfortunately have a higher chance of experiencing the pain within cancer.

Cancer treatments also take a toll on pain towards the patient. Chemotherapy, radiation, and also surgery are some sources of cancer pain. Cancer surgery usually results in painful long sessions that often take time to recover. Burning sensations and sometimes painful scars are left behind after radial treatments. If undergoing chemotherapy, painful side effects may include mouth sores, diarrhea, and even damaging to the nerves. Diet and nutrition are one of many ways to cope with pain. Medical doctors and physicians have pondered on why people suffer from pain.

The solution to their problems is the one answer that have been ignored; simple diet and nutrition. Our bodies are capable of healing and repairing itself when given the opportunity to do so (Harvey Diamond, 2005). A struggle for most people in our world today is learning how to cope pain. Such struggle can result in performance at work. Not being able to cope can affect not only your career but also your personal life as in your family and friends. Even those who have long been cured from an illness still struggle with pain.

Physical and psychological treatment can be done to help those in chronic pain such as heat and ice. This method consists of either using hot towels or cold packages over the area of pain. Though it does not make the pain magically disappear, it does relieve pain for hours. Acupuncture is an ancient eastern form of pain relief some still use today. The needles are carefully placed into nerve endings; releasing endorphins from the nerves. Like acupuncture; massage therapy helps enhance blood flow throughout the body.

Loosening knots in the muscles that create the body to become tense and are now at ease. There are many ways to cope with pain without the usage of drugs and surgeries.

References Benjamin, B. , Lahey, (2009). Sensation and Perception, Psychology an introduction Timothy Moynihan, (2010). Cancer Pain: Relief is possible. Retrieved from http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/cancer-pain/CA00021 Harvey Diamond, (2005). Methods of Dealing with pain. Retrieved from http://www. bestsyndication. com/2005/A-H/DIAMOND-Harvey/080905-Pain-free-life. htm