Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Editor’s note: pain and paradoxes
  1. Brandy Schillace
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brandy Schillace, Dittrick Museum of Medical History, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA; bls10{at}

Statistics from

One of the most enduring lessons of the humanities and social sciences—and one that I continue to rediscover in new ways—regards the absolute centrality of connections, relationships, even entanglements to our shared human experience and so also toour health. Changes to our well-being become story events, and stories are told. Every narrative imagines a speaker and a listener, and there are few experiences as ubiquitously encountered and shared as pain. From the traumatic to the spiritual, the complexities of pain become story even as they become lived experiences. Our ability to share pain, or not, in cases where someone’s pain has been ignored or silenced, influences our connection to each other and to the world around us. A deeply ethical dimension exists at the interstices, and so it offers a valuable place for dialogue and exchange. At Medical Humanities, these are just the kinds of critical cross-disciplinary and international conversations we like to present. It is therefore with great pleasure that I introduce our first themed issue of 2018, Pain and its Paradoxes, guest-edited by Daniel Goldberg, faculty at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and scholar in Equity, Health & Law at Farley Health Policy Center at the University of Colorado. We invite you, also, to visit the blog, where authors present audio clips concerning their work and its relevance to the diverse field of medical humanities. We hope you, too, will join the conversation.

View Abstract


  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.