Word pain stands more for those experiencing it

 If you are suffering from chronic pain, there are chances that you would pay more attention to words like ache, agony, distress and pain than to non-pain related words, says a study.

IANS| Last Updated: Oct 05, 2014, 15:34 PM IST

Toronto: If you are suffering from chronic pain, there are chances that you would pay more attention to words like ache, agony, distress and pain than to non-pain related words, says a study.

"People suffering from chronic pain pay more frequent and longer attention to pain-related words than individuals who are pain-free," said lead author Samantha Fashler from the York University in Canada.

The authors used a state-of-the-art eye-tracking technology, which is a more sophisticated tool to test reaction time than the previously used dot-probe task in similar studies.

"The use of an eye-tracker opens up a number of previously unavailable avenues for research to directly tap what people with chronic pain attend to and how this attention may influence the presence of pain," said co-author of the study Joel Katz, a professor in health psychology at the York University.

For the study, the researchers recorded both reaction time and eye movements of chronic pain (51) and pain-free (62) participants.

"We now know that people with and without chronic pain differ in terms of how, where and when they attend to pain-related words," Katz pointed out.

"This is a first step in identifying whether the attentional bias is involved in making pain more intense or more salient to the person in pain," Katz stressed.

The study appeared in the Journal of Pain Research.