Many factors must be involved. Pain seems to be less tolerated during an acute stage of an illness. Some possible explanations include the fact that the pain is new and there is concern as to whether or not it will improve; uncertainty of the cause will often increase anxiety which in turn increases pain. In other words, emotional issues can clearly accentuate the perception of pain. Once patients have an explanation for their pain and treatment plan, many tolerate it better.
Finally, pain and anxiety about the symptoms may disrupt sleep. Non-restorative (non-restful) sleep can by itself aggravate pain. Thus, a viscious cycle occurs where patients pain and anxiety lead to disruptions in their sleep which further increases their pain.
Some non-pharmacological ways to help deal with pain include:
Dr. Zashin is clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain - The Miracle Of TNF Blockers. The book is useful for anyone on one of the biologic drugs or considering the biologic drugs.