Another Blog Article by David E. Smalley, M.D.
This article is on a principle of general interest that is covered much more in depth in the book, The Miracle of Pain. The content is educational and should not be used as medical advice.
The original photos below emphasize the wonders of nature around and in us, which reflect the miracles within all of us.
November 20, 2019 — Why is Pain a Miracle?
Pain is unpleasant; that is obvious. Why then is it a miracle? Would it be a good idea to numb everything in our body, so we never feel pain? What would happen if we could not feel pain? Can anything bad happen if we could not feel pain?
Unfortunately, for pain relief some people numb their body purposely with alcohol or illegal drugs. We all know what happens to people that do that. They gradually ruin their body and they often ruin relationships with other people. They do not see or feel warning signs. Often, they persist on the same destructive path for years, accumulating more damage along the way.
Honey bee, hard at work
on Statice flowers
There are medical conditions where pain is lessened or gone because of damage to nerves. Diabetes over a period of years causes neuropathy, which is damage to nerves in the arms or legs. Leprosy is another disease that causes nerve damage. Because a patient with either of these two conditions has no or limited protective sensation, they easily develop bigger problems.
Navel orange blossoms
A red spot or pressure point easily becomes a blister. A blister easily becomes a pressure sore or an ulcer. An ulcer easily becomes an infected wound. Then an infected wound can easily spread infection to bone, which is osteomyelitis. Any infection can spread enough to cause the death of body tissues, or gangrene. An amputation may then be necessary to avoid the death of a patient.
It turns out that feeling pain allows us to stop or slow down, just as an engine warning light gets our attention. We can then help things recover or heal. We learn from painful experiences, or at least we can learn if we will. If we do not learn from painful experiences, we are bound to repeat them or continue suffering. It is possible, but more difficult to learn from the painful experiences of others because we are not feeling their pain.
Our creator has allowed us to have painful experiences. In a way, they encourage us to learn. Fortunately, we do not always have to feel pain to learn something. Chastisement from a parent or pain is never fun. However, we will grow if we choose to learn from them. Therefore, pain is a useful miracle during our mortal existence.
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Navel orange harvest
Red sunset after a hard day's work