Pain is highly modifiable by psychological factors, including expectations. However, pain is a complex phenomenon, and expectations may work by influencing any number of processes that underlie the construction of pain. Neuroimaging has begun to provide a window into these brain processes, and how expectations influence them. (…) The body of work reviewed indicates that expectancies shape pain-intensity processing in the central nervous system, with strong effects on nociceptive portions of insula, cingulate and thalamus. Expectancy effects on subjective experience are driven by responses in these regions as well as regions less reliably activated by changes in noxious input, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the orbitofrontal cortex.
As I move into anticipation, it only makes sense I bring expectations with me.