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Recharge, Reframe, Reclaim: The Role of Race in Pain

This interview is from the Like Mind, Like Body podcast. You can listen to the full interview below, on iTunes or Google Podcasts.


Race, rest, recharging, and revitalizing: this episode covers it all. Join Christie Uipi, Founder of the Better Mind Center, and Benita Jackson, PhD, MPH, for a wide-ranging conversation about the next wave of chronic pain research.

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Christie: Curable’s work focuses a lot on how pain is a danger signal and it's a danger signal that happens in response to threat, both real and perceived. And it relates to both our internal and our external experiences in thinking about the effects of discrimination. What can you tell us about the brain generated nature of pain in a social context?

Benita: Thanks for laying that out so well. It's like you said, right? If people are perceiving threat, whether it's a threat right in front of them or it's a threat that becomes switched on because of reminders of some past unprocessed threat, then these danger alarm signals can be chronically activated. And that is real in terms of the pain experience and it's a protective response to threatening information. So in terms of racism, we can also think about; how does this threat end up being signaled in the environment? How is it that we can send signals of safety? And obviously, how can we remove the threats?

But I think this work is just at the beginning in terms of really delineating the specific pathways. The neuroscientists are going to look at the very specific brain pathways, and the behavioral scientists will help us unravel how we can retrain those pathways into healing for individuals, and the sociologists will help us think about systems and how systems can be set up to signal safety instead of threat.

I do want to underscore that and we're just beginning to sketch this out in the medical literature and in the public health literature. But that's not to say that thinking about social psychology and racism hasn't been studied or written about for many, many years. The new piece is connecting that to chronic pain in academic literature. It’s something that's very new and that we need to do a lot more of.

[this is an excerpt only - for full response, listen to the podcast at the link above]

Show Notes

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Meet the Host

Christie Uipi, LCSW

Christie is the executive director and founder of The Better Mind Center. She is a member of Curable's Scientific Advisory Board who has dedicated her entire career to helping people with chronic symptoms heal through a mindbody approach. Avid Like Mind, Like Body listeners might also recognize Christie from a previous episode of the podcast where she was on the other side of the microphone.

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