Pain plays a vital, protective role in our lives. How much pain we feel and how much pain medicine is required depends on our genetics and possibly our sex. Females feel more pain than men, but require less pain medication. While most people recover from an injury some five percent won’t. They’ll go on to develop chronic pain. The factors that determine this are both environmental and genetic. There is no single pain gene, but there are not hundreds of them either. Scientist are looking for a particular type of gene that exists in different forms that can be inherited and of those genes there are anywhere from five to twenty tops. Pain is psychological, there is all this neural activity going on but it can always be trumped by culture, attitudes and behavior. Then we have those people who hereditarily are not able to feel pain at all.
Before I had my first kid I was scared to death that it was going to be the horrible pain that went on for hours, since this is what everyone kept telling me. When I went to the hospital for a check up one day I found out I had already been in labor for 24 hours and didn’t even know it. They checked me into a room and five hours later my baby was born. I experienced pain, but it was nothing like what everyone had said. On the other hand there was a lady in the room next to me who was checked in at the same time I was, that sounded like she was being tortured. It went on for hours after my baby was born. I remember thinking to myself “Thank God I can tolerate pain”. Maybe it wasn’t that I could tolerate it, maybe it was just that I didn’t feel as much pain as she did.
Scientist us a method called Knockout mice. This is where the mice are bred to lack certain genes and the protein it produces. Then they look at it to see what’s wrong with it not having the protein anymore. Before they didn’t worry about what type of mice they used or what breed, but then they discovered that the genetic background was affecting their outcomes. They discovered that there is no such thing as a universal rat. Some mice were born both oversensitive to pain and under responsive to pain medicine while on the other hand some were under sensative to pain and require fewer painkillers.
After reading the article I know understand why some people feel more pain than others and how their genetic make up, environment and behavior contributes to how well they deal with pain.
The author believes that as science looks beyond the role of pain as symptom, its hidden narrative will continue to unfold. He believes that if the psychologist Mogilis right, in 50 years from now we will look at pain quiet differently, we will have an ID bracelet to where so when we go to the pharmacy to pick up medicine it will be given to use based on our gender and genotype. So maybe one day in the future we will understand what exactly pain is and how it behaves.