View Full Version : The pains of culture.

01-15-2009, 09:52 PM
I've been doing a few shifts in ED at various hospitals which have a large cultural base. In the past few weeks I have seen a number of examples of what was explained to us in our school as 'cultural pain', where pain is expressed in different ways depending on what is expected.

For example one culture may see pain as a private personal experience, but it can be relieved, so they will ask for pain relief but will not express pain in any other way, while another will see pain as necessary part of life and will 'suffer' through it with not expression or help, while the last might see pain as emotional, and cry out, scream, involve the whole family (they all start to wail and cry), and continue to move around the bed even if it hurts to do so.

Have others see this, or do you disagree?

02-18-2009, 06:38 PM
Even though my experience is limited not only in ammount, but to women in labor I'd say not only do I agree but I find this phenomenon very interesting. This maybe the anthropologist in me too, though.

I know not only is pain expressed differently based on culture it's also preceived differently based on culture (at least labor pains are). If a woman expects to feel intense pain she will rate the pain experienced higher after the fact than a woman who expected labor pain to be something less intense. There was a study based on Sweedish women vs. American women. . .I think.

How were you taught to deal with the differences in pain expression and expectations?