Michael McMahon

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About Michael McMahon

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  1. Chronic Pain

    While I think pain has healing properties it is clearly limited in what it can achieve. Some organs like the heart never rest. Therefore the amount of pain necessary to repair it would be insurmountable. Some body parts are possible to live without such as an arm or a leg. This I imagine places a limit on how much pain the mind can use to repair them. Too much severe intense pain and there's a risk of amputation. Too much long lasting mild pain would be disabling. And then with chronic pain there's a risk of suicide. I think for these reasons we don't fully see the healing powers of pain. But like I said before I'm not a biologist or evolutionary scientist.
  2. Chronic Pain

    I appreciate your replies. Yes rest is of course very important to recovery. I just don't think that it's the primary function of pain. We'll have to agree to disagree.
  3. Chronic Pain

    I don't think the only function of pain is to make you rest and cut down energetic activity. You're body could force you to rest by deliberately weakening the body part or temporarily paralysing it. It could do so without the sensation of pain if this was the sole objective. Modern health services have obviously improved a lot in how it treats mental illness. But in evolutionary history chronic pain patients could not have taken sick days off to rest. Pre-historic societies would of lacked the resources to facilitate it.
  4. Chronic Pain

    I think pain probably serves multiple roles. I agree with you that one function is to report body damage, identify threats in the fight-or-flight response and to just act as a general deterrent to getting injured. However if this was the only purpose of pain it would definitely be overkill. If you've got a sick stomach for instance you cannot fix it with your bare hands. Therefore it would be futile to keep getting alerted to it by pain signals if this was its only function. It must have healing properties too. The exact mechanism of consciousness and hence pain is obviously still a mystery. But we can still make inferences. I think some mental illnesses may be your subconscious mind taking a huge risk. Let's take a depression. The most efficient way to determine if your life has meaning is for the person to find a solution to overcoming despair. The solution they find could vary from anything like hedonism to helping others. It's still a sort of stress test I suppose.
  5. Chronic Pain

    Very unfortunately many chronic pain patients die by suicide so it actually is erroneous enough to stop people reproducing.
  6. Chronic Pain

    Thanks for your reply. I will look into the modulation of the nervous system thanks. Well whatever about my theory chronic pain must serve some function. It's hardly the case that evolution messed up so badly that some people suffer seemingly endless pain for no reason whatsoever. All emotions including pain are adaptive. It couldn't be that their subconscious mind becomes sadistic and subjects them to pointless torture.
  7. Chronic Pain

    Hi, my name is Michael McMahon. I'm inquiring about the function of chronic pain. It can be a very strange illness in that it cannot be observed by someone else or any medical device. But the pain can still be severe for the patients. I was reading about the different theories into its nature. The slight problem I have with the overactive immune response hypothesis or the central sensitisation theory is that pain seems to be an evolved and adaptive response. Could chronic pain be a type of biological stress test? A stress test is where a device is tested to its breaking point to see where it fails and what needs to be done to fix it. Maybe chronic pain could be where the brain deliberately simulates organ failure to see what has to change in order to modify the body part. Science is reductionistic which has obviously been a very successful outlook in many areas. But in some respects the human body is almost infinitely complicated with lots of interdependent systems. This means that in order to change one system the body must make alterations to many others in order to compensate. One brutal but efficient way to do this would be to test the organ to failure so that the body and the genes could check all the different systems to be modified and hence design a blueprint for organ repair or strengthening. This would explain why chronic pain is invisible; because all the physical changes are happening deep in the genes. It would also account for why the pain could be so excruciating. Organs can never rest (if your heart for instance stops beating momentarily you die), so the only way to simulate their failure is to induce extreme long lasting pain to compensate for it. Another point is that it could explain why it happens in seemingly healthy and fit individuals. This is as the pain could be preemptive in nature if the body senses that an organ is not strong enough to withstand anticipated stress and heavy loads or demands. However, I'm not a biologist. It is only a hypothesis.