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Sport, Pain and Disability - Men, Spinal Cord Injury, Memories and the Narrative Performance of Pain

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Kinesiology & Health Science
KINE 1000
Parissa Safai

Sport, Pain and Disability Men, Spinal Cord Injury, Memories and the Narrative Performance of Pain By: Andre C. Sparks and Brett Smith Introduction: - Literature does not focus on the pain people with disabilities have experienced - Best disagrees with the belief that pain is a social construct o Pain is not just an experience that exists as we talk about but is a biological reality - Leder says pain is a sensory intensification of a body part o Unique feeling that puts focus on itself over other sensations  It hurts - Though Best states that pain is greater that its narrative, it is the narrative (social construct) that helps people to understand the experience of pain - Leder: “pain is a manner of being-in-the-world” o Narrative = linked to this process - Article: studies 14 men who suffered spinal cord injuries (SCI) playing rugby and became disable as a result o Focus on how they narrate their experience of pain (memories) o White, straight males born in the UK o Data has been analyzed in various ways o Focus on “initial acute phase of rehab” (right after injury happened)  Ex: fracture stabilization, introduction of a catheter to bladder, etc.  Where dramatic life-saving measures were taken  Excruciating pain is experienced at this time • About 6 months after the initial injury nerve fibers within or around the spinal cord begin to fail transmitting pain until the individual becomes almost entirely pain free o PAIN IS NOT FORGOTTEN Autobiographical Memories of Pain - Focus: o Memories of pain when the inhabited a new body o How they felt about their body o How they dealt with it during rehab - Using semantic memory: conceptual and factual knowledge - Also episodic memory: (autobiographical) chronologically sequences significant events in life – dynamic representation of a memory o Socially/culturally constructed, story-telling about past experiences  Not fact but a partial, selective weaving of events, people and feelings not necessarily connected as they were in life • Therefore, best taken with a grain of salt Unspeakable Pain - All participants of the study experienced neuropathic pain o Caused by damage to the nervous system (ex: spinal cord) o Found it difficult to describe this pain – didn’t have the right words (beyond narrative)  Made participants feel alone o Therefore: pain silences communication, disconnects one from others  “when physical pain can find a voice, it begins to tell a story” Naming Pain - Pain is described using metaphors, adjectives, etc.
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