OUCH!!! Why does stuff hurt?

Dr. Kristofer Rau head shot

Dr. Eric Paterson

February 15, 2020
An interactive session led by Dr. Kristofer Rau. 

 Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine Assistant Professor.

Dr. Rau is an Assistant Professor at the Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM), in the Department of Basic Science Education. Dr. Rau has a BS in microbiology from Auburn University, and earned his PhD (biomedical science / neuroscience) from the University of Florida. He also received valuable post-doctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Louisville. He has 20 years of research experience focused on the neurobiology of pain, and the electrophysiological and molecular changes that occur following tissue injury and spinal cord trauma. Currently, Dr. Rau directs the neuroscience curriculum for first year medical students at VTCSOM.

Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional phenomenon that is experienced by most people at one time or another. Although just about any part of the body can hurt, the real culprit of why you feel pain is that squishy lump of tissue between your ears: the brain. During this interactive session, we will discuss the reasons why the sensation of pain is actually beneficial, the neurobiological nuts and bolts of how we feel pain, and the current and future state of pain treatment. Sprinkled in this discussion, we will also talk about some of the odd peculiarities of pain, such as: Why does my “funny bone” hurt so much? Why do we get ice cream headaches? Why does my shoulder hurt if I am having a heart attack? Why do amputees feel pain in their lost limb? These and even more painful topics will be addressed!

Special Thanks to Carilion Clinic for providing materials for four booths at the afternoon interactive session!

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