How does culture play a role in the experience of pain?
A person’s cultural background—that is, their ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and social practices—will influence how they experience pain. Pain may be thought of differently in differing social contexts. It may be regarded as a necessary aspect of human life or a punishment for wrongs committed. It may be seen as an experience to be borne with courage, or one for which therapeutic means are required. Western medicine may be eschewed for traditional healing practices. It may also be the case that many scientifically based treatments are not optimal for nonwhite populations. Health care professionals should apply a sociocultural approach to all patients, keeping in mind the divergence of values, behaviors, expectations, and beliefs. The pain medicine evaluation should include multicultural awareness. This perspective is especially relevant given the pluralistic nature of most Western societies in the 21st century.