Wired for Pain: How Different People Process Pain

Rollercoasters. For some, they are an intoxicating thrill. But for others, just the word can set off a wave of motion sickness. So why do people react differently to the exact same experience? It all comes down to brain structure.

In a new TED-Ed lesson, Dr. Karen Davis, a 2013 Mayday Pain & Society Fellow (a Burness client), explains how natural variations in our brain structure determine how we handle pain. The differences can be dramatic: while some people focus better through pain, others become immobilized. Learning about these differences can help us deliver treatments that work best for people in pain – whether that means yoga and meditation or medical procedures and medications.

Watch the video below and pass it along. To learn more about applying for this year’s Mayday Pain & Society Fellowship, visit