Quotes About Pain


Passages, book excerpts and quotes about pain; inviting submissions.



“We need to look at pain as a perceptual process.”

Neil Pearson, Understanding Pain


“Phantom limb pain is the experience of pain in a body part that does not exist. Seventy percent of people who lose a limb experience phantom limb. It’s not all legs and arms either. Phantom breasts, penises and tongues have been reported. We believe that all pain sufferers could benefit from knowing more about phantom pain.”

Lorimer Moseley, Explain Pain


“A common but unfortunate saying is that the pain is in your head….this saying implies that it’s not real, but fabricated. This is not true. However, pain is located in your head, within your brain. When you have pain, the brain is very active processing it. How your brain processes it determines the pain you experience. So yes, your pain experience is in your head, but it’s real. It can be measured, and it can be changed for the better.”

Adriaan Louw, Why Do I Hurt?


“We have learned more about the physiology of pain in the last ten years than in the previous thousand years.”

Lorimer Moseley, Explain Pain


“Your brain plays a major role in controlling your pain. How you are feeling or what you are thinking about your pain has a direct impact on what happens to the pain signal in the spinal cord, and thus has a huge effect on how much pain you feel.”

Charles Argoff, Defeat Chronic Pain


“Knowledge produces powerful changes in your nervous system. Understanding pain neurophysiology is linked with less pain, improved movement and decreased perception of disability.”

Neil Pearson, Understanding Pain


“Indeed, the line between perceiving and hallucinating is not as crisp as we like to think. In a sense, when we look at the world, we are hallucinating all the time. One could almost regard perception as the act of choosing the one hallucination that best fits the incoming data.”

V.S. Ramachandran


“All pain is produced by the brain. This doesn’t mean for a second that it is not real – much to the contrary, all pain is real. In fact, anyone that tells you ‘it’ is all in your head, implying that therefore ‘it’ is not real, does not understand physiology.”

Lorimer Moseley & David Butler, Explain Pain


“Pain is not an accurate indication of what is occurring in the body.”

Neil Pearson, Understanding Pain


Orangey Brown

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes. The Nerves sit ceremonious, like tombs.”

Emily Dickinson


“Ironically, some of our most stubborn habits and disorders are products of our plasticity.”  

― Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science


“It is often said, humorously but with a grain of truth, that there are two kinds of pain: mine, which is always real, and yours, which is nothing but a lot of complaining.”

Fernando Cervero, Understanding Pain


“Understanding the spinal cord and the brain processes behind the pain experience can provide you with enormous control. We admit that it’s a bit new for us all – some of the science behind the understanding is very new.”

Lorimer Moseley & David Butler, Explain Pain


“In a 2011 study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, researchers found that, as far as the brain is concerned, physical pain and intense experiences of social rejection hurt in the same way….Neuroscience advances confirm what we’ve known all along: emotions can hurt and cause pain. And just as we often struggle to define physical pain, describing emotional pain is difficult. Shame is particularly hard because it hates having words wrapped around it. It hates being spoken.”

Brene Brown


“Pain triggers an emotional response. Your emotional response can determine whether your pain gets better or worse.” 

Beth Darnall, Less Pain, Fewer Pills


“Your nervous system produces pain-killing chemicals. These chemicals are much more powerful than the danger chemicals coming from your body. They are also more powerful than any pain medications – without the unpleasant side effects. You can stimulate your nervous system to release these chemicals.”

Neil Pearson, Understanding Pain