The problem of pain: a heuristic and structural existential analysis of unexplained physical pain

Christophy, Christos (2017) The problem of pain: a heuristic and structural existential analysis of unexplained physical pain. Other thesis, Middlesex University.

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This study was undertaken to increase understanding of recovery from chronic pain in the absence of medical intervention. Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that inflicts significant human suffering and costs the economy of the Western world £billions each year. Despite advances in modern medicine pain remains poorly understood and difficult to treat.

Applying a heuristic methodology, an in-depth exploration was conducted into the author’s personal experience of recovery and participants (N=8) who had recovered from chronic pain were interviewed.

The results indicate:

• Chronic pain is a multi-dimensional phenomenon that serves a purpose and has personal meaning.

• Pain serves as a non-verbal communication whose meaning can be revealed through tuning in to the felt sense of the experience.

• Medical approaches were ineffective and often exacerbated pain.

• Recovery occurred after all medically prescribed interventions had been exhausted and participants hit rock-bottom. This triggered a radical epistemological shift from the commonly held medical perspective into one that considers the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of the experience.

• Chronic pain is difficult to define within the realms of medical pathology and might be alternatively viewed as a healthy response to an unhealthy social system and world which are inextricably linked to the body.

• Adult chronic pain was associated with physical pain during childhood as well as repressed childhood trauma.

• Key factors in recovery were engaging in a deep personal exploration that involved: (a) remembering and acknowledging childhood adversity, (b) reflecting on the current circumstances of life, (c) challenging previously held views of pain that were based on a medical understanding, (d) Confronting pain and the fear of pain, and (e) making significant life changes.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 22314
Depositing User: Jennifer Basford
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2017 08:51
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2019 01:51

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