Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I noticed recently that when I smash my elbow into a doorway or do some similar clumsy act, I scream inside. Sometimes I hop around and grimace but rarely do I ever yell out loud.
And I’m not the only one. So why do people do this? Wouldn’t it make more sense to draw attention to oneself during this painful state so that others could provide aid? One might think we don’t cry out for fear of embarrassment but I did some research and there’s a different reason. Scientists say we don’t shriek in distress because pain is all in our heads.
Okay. If you’ve ever birthed a baby, I know what you’re thinking: pain is REAL you fool! I remember the time not long when my son accidentally punched me in the groin. I hit the floor. And yes, it hurt. And no, I wouldn’t let someone drive over my foot to test this theory but hear me out, okay?
I don’t fully understand the science behind this but think about it this way: does any physical pain hurt more the second time than it did the first? Probably not. Our brains apparently develop “neural pathways” so each subsequent time we experience similar physical pain we cope differently, usually better. Furthermore, our minds will suppress pain during threatening situations so we can escape. Essentially, pain doesn’t have to be painful. Therefore, if pain is just perception, why do we have to feel it at all?
Okay, that’s a tad deep, isn’t it? However, here’s something else those wacky scientists have determined: swearing alleviates pain. Like a dog yelps when you step on his tail, for many people (especially those in maternity wards) a carefully chosen expletive can do wonders for pain and stress.
Whoa. I just realized how much money I have squandered on various pain medications over the years....
FUCKING DRUG COMPANIES!
Hmm. Suddenly I feel better.