The article by Edwards et al (2009) – “Neurobiological Underpinnings of Coping with Pain” focuses on the neurological responses of humans to particular instances of pain. The article majorly focuses on how the pain that is experienced by people after a certain event, that has an impact on the human body, can be related to responses received by the hypothalamus of the brain and known cognitive responses. In many instances, people may perceive that they are experiencing pain when their brain responses indicate that there is no such pain being experienced. Response times to pain are also important and as stipulated throughout this article, individuals can perform a number of techniques that both reduce the level of pain experienced in certain individuals and allow people to better manage it.
Surprisingly, the paper proposes that catastrophizing is the major cause of pain and a cognitive behavior that needs to be better managed. As described in the article, after a particular event, neurological reactions force people into being more weary about events and catastrophizing about worst case scenarios. As previously stipulated in this paper, this behavioral approach can lead back to individuals believing that they are experiencing pain. Catastrophizing also occurs when people are coerced into a state of disrepair and start developing tendencies that they believe are strongly linked to or indicative of extensive pain. In a sense, the neurological responses discussed in the article become more of a psychological issues that can be rectified via number of different techniques, which the article goes on to describe.

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This research is particularly important in the 21st century and very pertinent to the study of social and neurological behaviors and responses. For a start, it can help practitioners and psychologists in better diagnosing conditions, which are caused by catastrophizing or a false sense of pain that develops over time and through particular experiences. For example, a patient who presents to a clinic with known pain will be questioned and a number of normal medical techniques applied to them. However with this extended knowledge about known behavioral and psychological issues associated with pain, doctors can quickly refer a patient to a psychologist or perform more research into psychological conditions. This further saves time and allows such conditions to be quickly treated and eventually rectified. Furthermore, it can also be important in persuading individuals to be more cognizant of real life experiences and how they approach particular events and obstacles. It may force people to think more deeply about known concepts and why they feel a certain way. By further understanding self and your body’s responses to particular stimuli, you can better develop a number of treatment strategies that can rectify any known conditions. Within the article, it is recommended that people suffering from such psychological conditions, conduct spiritual and meditating exercises that allow them to calm down and to soothe the pain that they may be experiencing. Furthermore, by lowering their heart rate and re focusing their mind, they can start forgetting about the known pain and starting to consider remedies for future issues and concerns. This can also improve the state of mind in such scenarios.

Questions that I have after reading the article include firstly, are there any procedures that can be conducted to link brain patterns with common responses? Furthermore, will these remedies result in confusion and misdiagnosis particularly when a patient is actually experiencing pain and are not perceiving this experience? Also, does this change the role of the normal medical practitioner and requires further interpretation by psychologists and researchers?

  • Edwards, R et al. The Neurological Underpinnings of Coping With Pain. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 18(4). Text. 5 Dec 2015.