Pain and how would you describe it to someone? - Pain Concern

Pain Concern

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Pain and how would you describe it to someone?


Yes more does need to be done, one big problem I think is that, good or bad and I think bad because a majority of people, DONT KNOW WHAT PAIN REALLY IS, my mum once said to me, “ what is pain and what does it feel like?” I was sunken, lol, how do you describe pain to someone who has never felt pain, apart from thumping someone on the nose and say, now that’s pain, How would you describe you pains to somebody doesn’t know what pain is?.


12 Replies

How would you describe blindness?


Are you blind? Does it give you pain? This particular post is about Pain, whatever gives physical pain, the mental pain it gives is what?

Was just trying a little comparison.

You said your Mum doesn't understand pain. The only person who understands your pain is you.

In the same way the only person who understands blindness or deafness or limb amputation is...that person.

You can empathize as to the restrictions it gives you and probably sympathise to others with chronic pain but it all comes back to you and how you manage your pain


I have to agree with Bananas. No one can totally understand until they have been there and lived it whatever their condition. When I was out and about with 2 friends years ago I had to sit down a lot because of chronic back pain. Neither of them understood and while patient I did get the 'eyes raised to heaven' a bit sometimes. Years later one also had bad back pain and the other was pregnant. We ended up all sitting down together and they said sorry we understand now. x

Absolutely right, but I’m asking how you describe pain, to someone who has never felt pain.


You can't. All you can do is show them how it affects you which is why I suggested the spoons theory.

In Pain Clinic I was shown how to use explain levels of pain in numbers 1-10.

You could ask your GP how to use this well trodden method. You take a pain count one is a small amount of discomfort while 10 is severe pain, unbearable.


Pain is all relative. No two people will experience the same level of pain, even when suffering the same physical injuries.

That is without taking the state of health, their fitness, current mental state, and a dozen other factors.

This is why Ambos and hospitals all use the 1 to 10 scale where 10 is the worst pain imaginable by that patient.


There has been a lot of research into pain over the years, and it really took off when a chap called Melzack made some breakthroughs.

Because pain is so subjective it can be really hard for others to understand each other's pain, but sometimes to win someone around if you teach them about the objective work done in pain, and how and why pain in people is so subjective, then they will be able to see that you do know a lot about pain. So maybe instead of trying to get them to understand how much pain you are in, show them how much you understand about how pain works.

So learn about Melzack's Descending Pain Pathway, learn how the brain mediates pain, and so on. Learn about the different fibres and what kind of pain they carry and all the different types of pain, then you can give them some objective information as to why you are in pain, and they might actually listen and believe you better.

I often start people that are new to pain with this little webpage, and once they get to grips with that they can usually start googling the more medical side of pain descriptions.

You also might find the pain researcher Irene Tracey interesting. She has a few podcasts and interviews, some with the BBC, that explain pain really well.


I think most people get pain sometimes but acute pain usually feels easier after a day, that’s why they don’t understand what chronic pain is. I get all different types of pain from muscle spasms (cramp like) Bone pain (like someone has just hit you with a hammer) to nerve pain (like really bad toothache in your back and legs) as well as nerve damage which causes throbbing, burning and insects crawling in legs. Then there’s the electric shock sensations, and numbness etc. it is hard to describe to a normal person who has never had anything though

J say mine feel like red hot poker in my leg then someone stabs the leg at the same time 24/7


I describe mine to other people as a pain that is 24/7 never gives you a break... and at times it takes your breathe away..

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