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Psychological Influences on Pain Perception Particularly Patients of Stage 3 Colon Cancer

A Study of Psychological Influences on Pain Perception Particularly Among the Patients of Stage 3 Colon Cancer Written by the authors of evidence of colon cancer. As some of you may know, the gate-control theory of pain allows for the significant role that downward central nervous system mediation can play in the pain perception process. There are a number of studies that show the important impact that psychological factors can exert on pain perception. Dr. Beecher was the first influential writer to emphasize the importance of the psychological status of an individual in determining his or her response to pain. Beecher’s belief originally stemmed from his observation of wounded soldiers returning from battle during World War II. In a classic investigation Beecher in 1956 compared the requests for pain-killing medication made by soldiers taken to combat hospitals following wounds received in combat at Anzio to those requests made by civilians with comparable surgical wounds. It was found that only 25 percent of the combat wounded soldiers requested medication. Most of the soldiers either denied having pain from their extensive wounds or said they had so little that they did not think medication was necessary. In marked contrast, the civilians with similar wounds obtained during surgery experienced much more pain, with greater than 80 percent of the patients requesting pain medication. Dr. Beecher interpreted these results as suggesting that psychological factors such as an individual’s emotional state and secondary gain/relief (most likely experienced by soldiers who were allowed to leave the aversive life-threatening combat zone because of their wounds and probably would eventually be sent home) can significantly affect the experience of pain. There have been other studies showing the importance of the psychological state of an individual on pain. For example, in 1966 Dr. Sternbach reported that pain tends to increase as the anxiety level of the individual increases. In an earlier study in 1952 Dr. Hill also demonstrated that induced-anxiety conditions were associated with higher intensities of pain than no-anxiety conditions. Any other interesting finding of this study was that morphine was much more effective in decreasing pain when the patient’s anxiety level was high; it had little or no effect if that individual’s anxiety level was low. Differences in attitudes and responses to pain may also appear to be learned. For example, investigations of dental fears in children have demonstrated that the attitudes and feelings of a child family toward dental treatment are important in determining that child’s own anxiety toward dental treatment. In one such study it was found that children with anxious mothers

showed significantly more emotionally negative behavior during a tooth extraction than did children of mothers with low anxiety. In a more dramatic example of how pain perception and response can be modified through learning, Dr. Pavlov in 1927 observed what happened when a slight change was made in the classical conditioning procedure. Instead of being preceded by a bell, the food was preceded by an aversive stimulus such as electric shock or a skin prick. Normally such stimuli presented alone will produce a variety of negative emotional responses. What Dr. Pavlov found was that after this conditioning, the dogs failed to demonstrate any emotional response to the aversive stimuli. Instead, these dogs began perceiving these stimuli as signals that food was on the way. They actually elicited salivation and approach behaviors! Of course, such examples do not imply that all pain is learned. The point is that our pain perceptions and responses often have a significant psychological-learning component that directly and significantly contributes to the experiences of pain. Thus psychological variables play a direct role in the pain experience. How one reacts to pain sensations is as important an issue as the specific physiological mechanisms involved in transmitting and generating pain experiences. Pain is a complex behavior and not simply a sensory effect. Understanding this is essential to treating patients of stage 3 colon cancer. End of Study.