Is there a link between pain and psychology?
Q: I am 20 years old. I want to know if there is any connection of aches and pain with psychology. Is it true that someone can reduce pain just by avoiding thinking about the disease he / she has? For example, I always hear people say that we must look away when being injected to avoid feeling the pain. If it is true, then why does it happen?
A:It is indeed a very interesting question, which has intrigued doctors, scientists and researchers alike since centuries. Although the answers are not very mathematical, but various hypotheses do exist. A prevalent view is that thoughts (cognition), emotions and behaviours are related and influence each other, although how exactly they do it is still a matter of various hypotheses. What comes first and what next can be best understood as the chicken and egg problem, for which the debate is still open. A hypothesis is the underlying principle for various solutions - positive thinking, cognitive behaviour therapy, distraction techniques, etc. Positive thoughts lead to positive emotions and positive behaviours, which helps a person to focus on positive coping skills. However, what influences the other and what is the initiator are still a matter of conjecture and debate. Likewise if there is a particular disease and we cannot treat / cure the disease and keep on thinking and worrying about it, it does not solve the problem, but rather has adverse effects on our mental state. This can further affect our biological substrate (hormones, etc.), which in turn affects metabolic processes. Thus, there is a vicious effect on the efficacy of treatments and our immunity levels. Thus, let us be positive and stop worrying as the first step towards curing a disease.