Question for the Portfolio Reading Set: What Can We Do About Pain? While describing the neurobiology of pain, Woolf notes that “while cortical influences commonly increase pain, they also can reduce it, and this provides the neurobiological basis for placebo and suggestion, the basis for alternative therapies…”

Question for the Portfolio Reading Set: What Can We Do About Pain?

While describing the neurobiology of pain, Woolf notes that “while cortical influences commonly increase pain, they also
can reduce it, and this provides the neurobiological basis for placebo and suggestion, the basis for alternative therapies…”
(2). Some of these alternative therapies (i.e, alternatives to pain medications) that have demonstrated effectiveness include
sound (Gardner and Licklider), massage (Cassileth and Vickers) and physical exercise (Ambrose and Golightly). Fields
offers an intriguing connection between meaning, symbolic representation, and the experience of pain, claiming that
symbolic manipulation has the power to change the experience of pain. (18).
In their excerpts, Woolf and Fields describe physical processes understood to underlie pain. But other sections
of this reading set strongly suggest, as Fields himself writes that “all pain is mental.” (13) The evidence for this
“mental” view of pain includes research that emotionally-associated pain is essentially the same as pain with
clear physical causes.
Is pain physical, mental, or both?
In your essay, weigh the evidence of all five (5) essays in the reading set. Be sure to discuss different forms of
treatment for pain, successful and unsuccessful, discussed in the reading set.
In your analysis, be sure to explain what pain is, and how it works neurologically. You also may wish to address the
following: What are the effects of music, massage, and exercise upon the experience of pain? What do these effects
suggest about the nature of pain? What is the role of the brain in perception of pain? Why, according to Fields, does the
meaning of pain affect the experience of pain? Why does symbolic representation have an effect upon the experience of
pain? Why does a person’s emotional state have an effect upon the experience of pain?
In addition, define and employ key terms that seem to be central to the arguments of your sources and, therefore, to your
argument as well. Primary among these key terms is “pain.” Other key terms that might help you with your argument are:
chronic pain, pain management, analgesia, nociceptive pain, protective pain, maladaptive pain, somatic pain, emotional
pain, non-pharmacological intervention, meaning; symbolic representation.
Signed certificates for the supporting papers you are submitting for the portfolio should be secured as early as possible. We urge you
to obtain the required signatures before you write the portfolio essay.
Although chairpersons may sign on behalf of a faculty member who is on leave or is no longer at the university if you provide them
with the original graded paper, please be advised that department chairs are under no obligation to certify papers simply because you
waited too long to seek the instructor’s signature. Think ahead and be considerate; neither course instructors nor department chairs
appreciate being pressured at the last minute for signatures; and, any incomplete portfolios will not be read and it will be graded a
Additionally, if you do not have the original graded paper, but you have the original on a hard drive, you can have that paper certified
if and only if the professor indicates on the certification form, that they remember the paper to be your original paper.
For a list of complete portfolio contents, see the back of portfolio certification forms or visit our website:
Students must also fill out and submit a Portfolio Submission Form that documents the contents of their portfolio.
Incomplete portfolios will not be evaluated.
Portfolios must be completed with all the necessary signatures and submitted to the Writing Proficiency Office
(CC-01-1313) no later than 4:00 P.M. on Wednesday, January 6, 2015. Portfolios will not be accepted after that
January 2016 WPE Portfolio Reading Set Table of Contents
University of Massachusetts at Boston
Colleges of Education and Human Development, Honors, Liberal Arts,
Nursing and Health Sciences, Public and Community Service, and Science
and Mathematics
Writing Proficiency Evaluation (WPE): Portfolio
Portfolio Reading Set: What Can We Do About Pain?
The portfolio is due on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, no later than 4:00 PM
In the Writing Proficiency Office, CC-1-1300
Table of Contents
1. Woolf, Clifford J. “What is this thing called pain?” The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Volume
120, Number 1,1 November 2010. Web. 23 November 2015
2. Gardner, W.J. and J.C. Licklider. “Suppression of Pain by Sound.” Science 132:32-33, 1960. 23
November 2015. Web. 23 November 2015.
3. Cassileth, Barrie and Andrew J. Vickers. “Massage Therapy for Symptom Control: Outcome Study at
a Major Cancer Center.” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Volume 28, Issue 3,
September 2004, Pages 244–249. NEED ACTUAL PAGE NUMBERS USED.
4. Ambrose, Kirsten and Yvonne Golightly. “Physical exercise as non-pharmacological treatment of
chronic pain: Why and when.” Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology. 29 (2015).
Web. 23 November 2015.
5. Fields, Howard L. “Setting the Stage for Pain: Allegorical Tales from Neuroscience.” In Pain and Its
Transformations: The Interface of Biology and Culture. Sarah Coakley and Key Kaufman
Shelemay, eds. Harvard UP, Cambridge, 2007.
Articles reprinted with permission
It is essential that you include in your essay specific references to the articles in the reading set, and that
you attribute any material that you summarize, quote, or paraphrase to its source. Base your essay on the
information contained in the set of readings, not on your own experience, on outside readings, or on
courses you have taken. Plagiarism in a portfolio, whether it is in the new essay or in one of the
supporting essays, will be treated in the manner as outlined in the Code of Conduct. The consequences of
violating these policies are serious and may include suspension or expulsion
Your portfolio must contain an essay that is at least five (5) full pages (double spaced in 10
or 12 point type) that answers the question above; at least 15 pages of supporting papers, each
one attached to a completed Certification Form; and a completed Portfolio Submission Form.
The exception to the 15-page supporting-paper requirement only applies to a new transfer student. If,
and only if you are a transfer student who has not yet completed your second semester, then you may
submit a portfolio that has either two or three supporting papers totaling 10 full pages.