Torture survivors are likely to experience chronic pain, even decades later. And now, researchers from Tel Aviv University say the effects of torture may be permanent, particularly in how survivors perceive pain.
If you have experienced extreme pain, the memory of it can linger. Studies have shown that the memory of pain may even overshadow the primary experience, and researchers have shown when pain is anticipated, patients report a worsening of pain.
Conversely, even the expectation of pain relief can produce a placebo effect, diminishing the experience of pain.
Researchers from Israel set out to study the long-term effects of torture on the human pain system, publishing their results in the European Journal of Pain. They claim that torture survivors “regulate pain in a dysfunctional way.”