The problem is that “less definate cases” don’t seem any less definite to those who have experienced them.
Nevertheless they are.
What, apart from the compelling nature of first-person experience, makes you say so? My point was that other people feel just as sure as you do that their experiences represent true cause/effect relationships even when scienctific evidence shows they cannot. You are responding to this by simply reasserting that you are right and they are wrong. What would be the evidence for that? Why is your experience different from those who rise from their wheelchairs at revival meetings?
On the the issue of certainty, you might have a look at On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not by Robert Burton. There’s a pretty strong case to be made that the sense of certainty we feel about our knowledge is generated independantly of the accuracy or reliability of our knowledge. Studies of eyewitnesses to staged events, for example, find know correlation between their degree of certainty and the accuracy of their recall (though their degree of certainty DID correlate with how likley others were to believe their accounts). So being sure isn’t itself evidence for the truth of a proposition.
As for why immediacy doesn’t strengthen the hypothesis of cause and ffect much, one reason is that the short time frame doesn’t eliminate the post hoc ergo propter hoc problem. While causes preceed effects by definition, one event preceding another is not itself sufficient evidence to assume the first causes the second. And the fact that you cannot readily think up other possible causes for the reduction in pain doesn’t mean the hypothesis you have is the right or only answer. Placebo effects, in particular, can work immediately and are especially relevant whent he outcome measure is purely subjective, such as pain. Peoplke believe doing something might help, and when they do something they perceive the change they expect, regardless of whether the agent actually does anything. That’s one major reason why placebo controls are used in clinical trials, and why they so successfully identify therapies which appear to work nut really don’t.
Of course, the issue then arises that if you think your pain is better, since it is purely subjective anyway, it really is better regardless of whether any effect other than your belief is identifiable. That’s true to a point, but it doesn’t solve the problem of having concluded, on the basis of the experience, that the intervention is likley to be effective for you in the future or for others. Interventions validated by scientific testing are consistently, predictably effective, whereas interventions believed to work based on individual subjective experiences are not, suggesting that the accuracy of the subjective evidence is low and that the apparent effects may be due to factors other than a specific action of the intervention.
Counter irritant mechanisms are another possible explanation besides the one you have chosen. One can be distracted from one sensation by a competing sensation, so the taste or other sensory effects of clove in your mouth can reduce your attention to your pain while not diminishing any measurable physiological factor associated with it. Next time you have an itchy mosquito bite, try hitting your thumb with a hammer. I promise you, it doesn’t alter your mosquito bit one bit, but you won’t notice it for a while!
There are plenty alternative explanations besides the clove altered your physiology in a way that relieved your pain, but the point is that you seem to hold a confidence in your conclusions based on your experience which the study of human psychology and the history of medicine suggest is unjustified.