Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dr. Fernando Cervero - Pain is a Complex Emotional and Sensory Experience (BSP 93)

In part one of a two-part interview, Dr. Ginger Campbell, host of the Brain Science Podcast, speaks with Dr. Fernando Cervero about his new book, Understanding Pain: Exploring the Perception of PainHere is the publisher's blurb to give you a sense of what you will be listening to in this interesting podcast:
If you touch something hot, it hurts. You snatch your hand away from the hot thing immediately. Obviously. But what is really happening, biologically--and emotionally? In Understanding Pain, Fernando Cervero explores the mechanisms and the meaning of pain. You touch something hot and your brain triggers a reflex action that causes you to withdraw your hand, protecting you from injury. That kind of pain, Cervero explains, is actually good for us; it acts as an alarm that warns us of danger and keeps us away from harm. 
But, Cervero tells us, not all pain is good for you. There is another kind of pain that is more like a curse: chronic pain that is not related to injury. This is the kind of pain that fills pain clinics and makes life miserable. Cervero describes current research into the mysteries of chronic pain and efforts to develop more effective treatments. Cervero reminds us that pain is the most common reason for people to seek medical attention, but that it remains a biological enigma. It is protective, but not always. Its effects are not only sensory but also emotional. There is no way to measure it objectively, no test that comes back positive for pain; the only way a medical professional can gauge pain is by listening to the patient's description of it. The idea of pain as a test of character or a punishment to be borne is changing; prevention and treatment of pain are increasingly important to researchers, clinicians, and patients. Cervero's account brings us closer to understanding the meaning of pain.
Sounds like a good book - and one that will be of interest to anyone who works with clients who may experience chronic pain, whether in a medical setting, or psycho-therapeutic setting, or in a personal training/rehab setting.

Pain is a Complex Emotional and Sensory Experience (BSP 93)

Friday, January 25, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Dr. Fernando Cervero 

Dr. Fernando Cervero of McGill University has been studying pain since the beginning of his career back in the 1960's. These decades have seen tremendous advances in our neuroscientific understanding of what causes different types of pain as well as changing attitudes. Pain was once regarded as something that most people had to endure, but now most of us demand adequate pain relief, sometimes even to the point of not tolerating minor pain. Dr. Cevero's new book Understanding Pain provides an accessible account of both the history of pain research and a thoughtful consideration of the challenges facing the field.

The latest episode of the Brain Science Podcast (BSP 93) is an interview with Dr. Cervero. This is Part 1 of a planned two part series.

Listen to Episode 93

Episode Transcript (Free PDF)

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