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How does the mind affect the perception of pain?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology

Managing pain and functional symptoms requires an exploration of the relationship between your thoughts (mind/brain) and your symptoms (body). The source of thoughts and feelings is the mind/brain, which gives meaning to experience, including symptoms and pain.

The mind acts as a filter or lens through which bodily messages of pain or discomfort pass. The filter or lens can either reduce or magnify the intensity of the message. Thus, the experience of pain and uncomfortable symptoms can be increased or decreased by the power of your mind. By changing your mind, you can change your brain chemistry and find relief from your symptoms.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body Brain-Gut Connection: 8 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functiona (The Mind-Body Connection Series)

More About this Book

Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body Brain-Gut Connection: 8 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functiona (The Mind-Body Connection Series)

One in five people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, or other functional bowel disorders. As a result, irritable bowel syndrome is the second leading cause of worker absenteeism. This...
David A. Hanscom, MD
Spine Surgery
The mind can affect the perception of pain in that the longer pain persists, the more frustration and anxiety you suffer, which compounds the pain over time. Watch spine surgeon David Hanscom, MD, explain how perception can make pain worse over time.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.