The concept of pain being 'all in our heads' is further illustrated by the complexity of the phenomenon referred to as phantom limb pain, a phenomenon that has been extensively researched by individuals such as neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran. Phantom limb pain is a sensation felt in a missing limb, by individuals born without a certain limb, or those whom have underdone amputation during the course of their lives. Sensations experienced in the missing limb can range from a mild tingling or itch to severe aching and burning pain. A number of theories have been explored that may explain this extraordinary sensation, ranging from theories of maladaptive plasticity, to limb position memories formed post-amputation. In 2013, Nadia Bolognini carried out an experiment that explored motor and parietal cortex stimulation as a means of relieving phantom limb pain. It was found that this form of treatment provided short-term alleviation from pain (up to 90 minutes). Another form of therapy utilised in the treatment of phantom limb pain is 'the mirror box' which was developed by Ramachandran, where the patient places a mirror box in the position of the missing limb, creating the illusion of a limb being present. The mirror provides artificial visual feedback from the missing limb and the patient can engage in movement and soothing exercises in order to alleviate pain.
However, we must take into account that pain is case sensitive and each individual can experience a vast range of sensations and intensities caused by injury and illness. Having said pain is case sensitive, it is also human condition for us to have the common desire to flee, resist, or move away from pain, which in turn can have adverse effects in amplifying the intense sensation we feel, thus inducing and associating negative emotions such as anger or frustration with instances of pain. So, the next time you are become with the unfortunate event of experiencing pain, be aware and mindful of the emotions you are associating with the pain - as it could just be 'all in your head'.