Pain Unstuck: The Role of Action and Motivation

Abby Tabor, Dimitri Van Ryckeghem, Monika I. Hasenbring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


What is it that motivates our actions? As human beings, existing as part of complex societies, the actions we take are subject to multiple, often competing motives. Spanning non-conscious reflexes, cognitively derived choice as well as long- and short-term goals, our actions allow us to make sense of our environment. Pain disrupts action and hijacks our intentions. Whilst considered adaptive when temporary, pain that persists continues to interrupt and can threaten our ability to actively investigate a changing world. Drawing upon three complementary theoretical approaches to pain: an embodied framework, a motivational approach and the avoidance-endurance model, this review places the relationship between pain, motivation and action at its core, unpicking a dynamic process that can become stuck.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-149
JournalThe Clinical Journal of Pain
Issue number3
Early online date10 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • avoidance vs. endurance
  • cognitive bias
  • embodied pain
  • motivation
  • pain unstuck

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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