Can the Mind Control Physical Pain?

Can the Mind Control Physical Pain?

Last update: 18 October, 2016

Pain is an individual and subjective indicator that something is wrong inside our bodies. It can have a huge impact on our well-being and can affect our daily lives. The mind is responsible for identifying and processing physical pain, so it’s important to understand how our brain perceives and analyzes.

In the brain there are well-defined regions that are responsible for our perceptions of pain. Many ailments of the body are actually rooted in the brain and can be influenced by mental attitude and emotions. Conversely, mental activities can also counteract pain, including relaxation and breathing exercises, music therapy and biofeedback.

“They are not cured of their illnesses, it is their illnesses that will cure them”

-Carl Jung-

Characteristics of emotional pain

Studies indicate that people with greater acceptance of pain are less concerned, and present fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. The most important part of this study is that the level of acceptance of pain does not depend on the intensity of the pain. That is, people do not have more acceptance because they have less pain.

Acceptance involves contact with unpleasant or painful experiences without this having a significant impact on behavior.

Suffering is part of us. We must accept suffering as something normal in certain contexts. This does not mean that we should succumb to catastrophism, which is the mindset of believing pain will be chronic.

“When you are sick, instead of hating the illness, consider it your teacher.”

-Alejandro Jodorowsky-

Pain and the mind

The mind, according to a researcher at the University of California, Patricia Churchland, is what the brain produces and has a huge influence on health. The mind, ideas and emotions affect our physical health as there is always a psychological aspect to every illness.

Dr. Sarno, professor of rehabilitation medicine at the New York University School of Medicine confirms that the brain generates pains that have no organic cause. It does this so that we pay attention to our bodies and thus deviate the attention from “repressed emotional tensions.” When we recognize the emotional tensions that we repress, the symptoms of the physical ailment decrease.


A study from Stanford University suggests that brain training can reduce pain without drugs. Although it does not work in all individuals, the technique may lead to new medical treatments. In this process, the patient watches the area of the brain associated with pain live by magnetic resonance imaging.

The study shows that under certain circumstances it is possible to “dominate” our brain activity. We can also control the intensity of the ailments we feel without using medication. The technique opens up new avenues to unprecedented medical treatments, although it should be noted that it may not work alike in all individuals.

The combination of a willingness to accept pain and proper mental training are key factors to reduce the impact of pain on our lives. Perhaps we cannot make it go away, but by using our mind we can beat it.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.