Let's face it. Pain is, well... a pain. It can make you feel like you have no control over your own life. The activities you used to love to participate in can become a chore, something you have to endure or aren't able to do at all. The fascinating thing about pain is that it comes in many different forms and stems from numerous causes. These are the inner workings of pain.
1. Redheads Feel More Pain
Being a ginger means you are a member of one of the world's most exclusive clubs. Only 2 percent of the world's population has naturally red hair. Unfortunately, holding that honor also puts you at a higher risk of feeling more intense levels of pain. Research shows that redheads are more sensitive to pain caused by hot or cold and are even resistant to the pain relieving effects of lidocaine.
2. Food Can Affect Your Pain Levels
You read that right. That soda you had with lunch may be contributing to the pain you're feeling as the afternoon wears on. This's because certain foods cause the release of inflammatory chemicals, leading to achiness, fatigue or even more focused pain in your joints or extremities.
3. Many Brain Surgeries Are Performed on Conscious Patients
Your brain may be the central command center for processing all of the nerve impulses that alert you to pain throughout your body, but it doesn't feel any pain itself. That's why many brain surgeries are carried out on conscious patients.
4. Past Experiences Can Color How Much Pain You Feel
Sure, pain is a physical reaction to stimuli, but it can also be experienced due to past events. Pain perception becomes a learned response that the body then translates into a higher level of pain, even when there isn't a greater level of negative stimulation.
5. Mamba Venom Better Than Morphine
The black mamba is one of the most poisonous snakes in the world, but it holds a secret. Black mamba venom contains proteins known as mambalgins that work in much the same way as opioids to control pain in mice. Regarding the latest research, Dr. Nicholas Casewell, an expert in snake venom at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, commented: "It's very exciting, it's a really great example of drugs from venom, we're talking about an entirely new class of analgesics."
6. Acetaminophen Dulls the Sting of Social Rejection
"Social pain, such as chronic loneliness, damages health as much as smoking and obesity," says lead researcher C. Nathan DeWall of the University of Kentucky. His team has discovered that acetaminophen (the active ingredient in the popular analgesic Tylenol) doesn't just help to mellow physical pain. It can be found to work on the emotional pain brought on by social rejection.
7. Swearing Reduces the Severity of Pain
8. Women Aren't Whiners
Women are more sensitive to pain stimuli than men, but there's a good reason for that. Women have approximately 34 nerve fibers per square centimeter of skin, while men only have 17. Also, women's skin is 25 percent thinner than men's and has a less rugged texture.
9. Back to Nature
Sure, you've heard about the great benefits of cannabis for pain, but it isn't legal in many states, and some people have objections to its use. Luckily, there are numerous other herbs that can bring about amazing pain relief without the buzz, including yarrow and arnica, both of which can be found in pain relief creams like this one.
10. T-Rex Suffered From Gout
If you have gout, a form of arthritis, you probably know just how beastly it can make you feel. Besides the three million people who are affected by it every year, fossils have revealed that the ferocious Tyrannosaurus rex also experienced the pain of this affliction.
11. Achy Backs Are Exacerbated by Smoking
Smokers take note: Smoking increases your chances of experiencing back pain, as well as the symptoms of chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. That's another great reason to quit.
12. Pain Shrinks the Brain
The brains of people with chronic back pain were found to be about 11 percent smaller than those without pain. It's speculated that this is due to the stress placed on the neurons when they try to cope with discomfort.
13. Some Animals Don't Feel Pain
It's pink and ungainly, but the naked mole rat has something going for it. You see, the naked mole rat isn't oblivious to pain, it just doesn't feel it. Studies are being carried out to learn more about how this may help humans in the future.
14. Phantom Sensation
Phantom pain used to be considered a psychological phenomenon, but studies have proven that pain experienced in a body part that is no longer there is very real. It's due to signals coming from the spinal cord or brain instead of the lost limb.
15. Back Pain is a Big Pain
The United States spends an estimated $90 billion each year on lower back and neck pain treatments. That's more than all of the gross domestic product of Cuba. And only only 10% less than the total spent on diabetes care.
16. Animalistic Aches
Throughout parts of Asia and India, different types of pain are often given animal-themed names. For instance, throbbing headaches are described as "woodpecker headaches," and the dull, thudding headache is known as a "bear headache."
17. Rare and Painless
An incredibly rare condition known as Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) makes it impossible for those with it to feel pain of any sort. They can feel hot and cold sensations, but not the pain that alerts them to dangerous levels of either, for example.
18. Blame It on the Rain
No longer just a myth, a 2007 study by Tufts University found a direct correlation between achy joints and arthritis pain and drops in temperature, lower barometric pressure, and precipitation.
19. Wait, What?
Until the 1980s, it was believed babies didn't feel pain, so surgery would be performed on them without anesthesia.
20. JFK's Meth
Due to painful war injuries, John F. Kennedy received regular injections of methamphetamines to smother the pain. This was common practice in the 1960s.
21. Mind Over Pain
The Viking Berserkers were reported to be able to sustain incredible injuries and keep going, seemingly oblivious to pain. This is thought to be due to the trance-like state they'd work themselves into.