Discussion Questions

A. Marie has been suffering from minor joint issues in her shoulder and is considering using either a homeopathic remedy or acupuncture. Considering what was presented in the text regarding alternative medicine, what would you suggest to Marie to help her make a choice?

B. When an individual bumps her/his arm, a typical response is to rub the affected area. Using the ‘Gate control theory’ of pain, why is this effective in reducing pain?

C. It is common for individuals to say they are in pain when undergoing a romantic breakup or when their group of friends rejects them. Is there, in fact, a common mechanism that might be responsible for emotional and physical pain?

D. Non-pharmacological methods can be used to help manage pain. Specifically, cognitive-behavioural therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing pain. However, in order for this method to be effective, how must an individual living with pain approach treatment?

E. Individuals with chronic pain frequently experience depression. How effective is treating depression in order to manage pain successfully and how might antidepressants contribute to diminish pain?

F. Numerous different types of pain can be experienced. From an evolutionary perspective, are there benefits to having so many types of pain?

G. If you were physician who had a patient that suffered chronic excruciating pain that could not be controlled by any medications other than opioids, would you eventually relent and prescribe these addictive drugs? What factors would influence your decision one way or the other?

H. Think about the many biological and psychosocial differences between men and women. With these in mind, do you believe that greater pain perception in females is due to biological or psychosocial processes (or a combination of the two)? Should these factors play a role in selecting pain treatments for the two sexes?