Why We Hurt: The Natural History of Pain

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Pain, the writer and theologian C.S. Lewis said, is the divine megaphone through which God calls us to worship. The neurosurgeon Frank Vertosick isn’t sure he likes that version of God, but does agree that “as anyone who has ever passed a kidney stone well knows, pain does have a way of commanding your attention”. Pain is a biological necessity that protects us from bodily harm and teaches us our physical limits. But as humans, Vertosick says, we don’t simply experience pain; we embellish it, magnify it, and wallow in it. Pain rules the lives of most people who suffer from migraines, carpel tunnel syndrome, a ruptured disk, or a toothache….

But for those who somehow manage to transcend their suffering, pain can be a life-altering experience that deepens their notion of empathy and their understanding of what it means to be human. No pain no gain, this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Frank Vertosick, neurosurgeon and author of “Why We Hurt: the Natural History of Pain.”