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Lecture 3

ANTHROP 3HI3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Somatization, Pain Scale, Rheumatology

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Priscilla Medeiros

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Lecture : The anthropology of pain Jan
Chapters 3 & 4
Defining pain
- Generally think of pain as an outward manifestation
o Definition aligns with disease model
o Fails to consider social and cultural influences
- Pain is an inseparable part of everyday life
- Many forms of healing or diagnosis also involves some form of pain
Defining chronic pain
- Poses problems for sufferers and for those around them
- Leads to frustration and distrust in practitioners who are unable to explain or effectively
treat their illness
- Often intimately linked to social and psychological problems
Classifying pain behavior
- DEFINITION: PRIVATE PAIN to know whether a person is in pain, we are dependent on
that person signaling that fact to us, either verbally or non-verbally
o Often invisible and difficult to communicate to others
o Can result in a sense of isolation
- DEFINITION: PUBLIC PAIN depeds o the perso’s iterpretatio of the sigifiae
of pain
o Attitudes towards pain are acquired early in life
o Ideas of pain tend to change over time
Authenticity of pain experience
- Legitia of oe’s pai is ofte stadardized  wa of sigalig
- Pain behavior is culturally determined
- Signaling differs cross-culturally, but can be interpreted through cultural and social
- Pain behavior may mask the underlying psychological state of an individual
- Pain is often linked to a variety of other somatic symptoms (ex; depression, anxiety)
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- DEFINITION: SOMATIZATION Experience of recurrent symptoms with no organic cause
o Stress is a major contributor
o Practitioners, family members, and friends contribute to somatization and
encourage certain forms of complaints
- Somatization is influenced by social conditions, interpersonal problems, and individual
psychological experiences
- Stressful events in our lives disrupt our equilibrium; symptoms of special personal
significance are vigilantly attended to immediately
Expectations of pain
- Language of pain is borrowed from medicine
- Child-rearing practices shape attitudes towards and expectations of pain
- Distress will influence how private pain is signaled to others and the types of reactions
expected from them
Culture and pain
- Affets the ulturall appropriate wa of reatig to ad epressig oe’s feeligs aout
- Intercultural variation affects understandings of pain
- Information is important for providers to appropriately interpret the significance of
patiets’ oplaits
- Without knowledge of their own cultural expectations of pain, providers are more likely
to be judgmental towards patients
- Awareness helps providers respond appropriately to people from other cultures in
which the open expression of pain is not normative
Important points to consider
- The way of perceiving, expressing, and controlling pain is culture-specific
- Pain and pain control are subjective experiences of the person who is in pain
Meanings of pain
- History and environment shape our meanings of pain
- Local environments generate or exacerbate feelings of hopelessness
- Exact cause of chronic pain remains poorly understood
VIDEO - Chronic pain: the invisible disease. Pain can be hidden, invisible, absent, and most of all
an isolating experience
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