Communicate

Drop The F-Bomb To Relieve Pain

We told you about unusual ways to cure aches and pains, but what if it’s as simple as letting out a string of expletives?

Scientific American’s Frederik Joelving writes about a new study that shows “that swearing may serve an important function in relieving pain”. Basically, a group of psychiatrists wondered why it is that we seem to react to pain by swearing and conducted an experiment in which they studied the pain tolerances of a group of students who were swearing and a control group who wasn’t. The results, as you may have guessed, were positive for the folks with the dirty mouths.

But hang on. Before you take a deep breath and start screaming profanities, keep this in mind:

In extreme cases, the hotline to the brain’s emotional system can make swearing harmful, as when road rage escalates into physical violence. But when the hammer slips, some well-chosen swearwords might help dull the pain.

So, beware of overusing this “method” and resort to other pain management solutions when in polite company. (And keep some bandages on hand just in case it fails.)

Do you have methods of dealing with pain that turn heads and prompt parents to cover their children’s ears? How about a trick that’ll help me deal with the nasty paper cut I inflicted on myself? Let’s hear your ideas in the comments.

Why the #$%! Do We Swear? For Pain Relief [Scientific American]


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