PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS MODIFYING PAIN WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO CHILDBIRTH

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Abstract

Pain is one of those strange concepts wherein we use the word daily, each and every one of us has some understanding and indeed personal experience of the concept, and yet it is an extremely difficult problem to define accurately what is meant by pain. This highlights the fact that pain is very much a subjective experience by an individual and, for this reason, we immediately strike problems in any scientific study because of the difficulty, indeed impossibility, of measuring accurately the inner experience of another individual. For many years, writers have discoursed on pain without ever attempting to define the concept. That there is an emotional component involved in pain has been recognised not only by physicians and other medical people, but by writers through the ages. Shakespeare says in Macbeth — “the labour we delight in physics pain”, and again in Romeo and Juliet — “One fire burns out another's burning, one pain is lessened by another's anguish” — and in 1590 Montaigne wrote “we feel a cut from the surgeon's scalpel more than 10 blows of the sword in the heat of battle. The pains of childbirth considered so great both by doctors and by God are held in no account amongst entire nations. The wives of our Swiss infantry trudging after their husbands may be seen today carrying on the shoulder the infant which was yesterday in the womb.” © 1973, Australian Physiotherapy Association. All rights reserved.

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Lawrence, J. M. (1973). PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS MODIFYING PAIN WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO CHILDBIRTH. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 19(2), 45–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0004-9514(14)61145-4

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