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Can a human being remember pain ?

kkollins at pop3.concentric.net kkollins at pop3.concentric.net
Sat Oct 24 14:22:35 EST 1998

CAMaderer wrote:

> Thank you.  I've always wondered about this because I work as a legal
> advocate for people who have disabilities.  A lot of times their Doctors say
> there is no explanation for the reports of pain expressed by their patients.
> Especially with people who have undergone repeated back surgeries and
> supposedly have been given a "clean bill of health".

Surgery is messy business. Spinal cord surgery, which is just about as serious
an undertaking as brain surgery, is IMO undertaken too-often. In the case you've
mentioned, it's more-likely that, because things got displaced by tiny amounts
during surgery, the signalling dynamics in the tissue that remains are mixed-up,
with otherwise functional stuff now signalling to stuff that was formerly not
its innate target. There's always some of this in even the most-precise surgery,
and it would be good practice if folks were briefed on this before agreeing to
go through with the surgery.

Back pain falls into this realm notoriously. I slipped a disc years ago, and the
pain was such that I was totally imobilized for over a week. If I'd gone to the
"wrong" surgeon at that time, I might've been put under the knife. As it was, I
just redistributed the correlated effector activations while lying in bed so as
to regain the necessary balance of the muscles' suspension of my backbone (it's
like a suspension bridge, not a truss bridge). This was successful, and I
returned to work. In the years since, I've remembered to maintain the proper
muscle-activation, and haven't had any recurrence. Clearly, this's preferrable
to undergoing what, at best, is surgery in which grave consequences often

Note well, I'm =not= making any blanket statement here. Folks should see their
doctors, and get as many additional opinions as necessary to converge upon the
approach that will be undertaken. I am saying, though, that the seriousness of
spinal cord surgery should be fully-disclosed before any decisions are made.
I'll add that verifiably-sloppy cutters should be called to task, checked out,
retrained, go under "probation", and dealt with appropriately, with ample tender
mercy with respect to their having invested so much into trying to become
something for which they are unsuited.

> >the "pain" sensation is actually new stuff, most likely in response to

In the context you've brought up in your reply, my earlier comments no longer
hold. In them I was addressing the close proximity of the tissue damage to the
additional physical stress to the recently-damaged tissue. Clearly, your post
refers to other than "close proximity" to tissue damage.

>     so where do I find some of your work?

None of my work is formerly published... you can't go to any library and look it
up.  I can send you a hypertext doc (about 100 single-spaced pages) that runs in
the Windows or DOS environments, if you want to have a peek at it. To fully
comprehend it requires additional reading in the refs cited in the hypertext
doc. It's worth the trouble, but it does require a bit of work. ken collins

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