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Tip of the Day: A Quick Way to Minimize Pain

Feb 12, 2011   [permalink]

I saw this article in Science Daily the other day that said your brain turns down the pain volume when you look at your body. That is, if you accidentally hurt yourself (ouch!) then look at the hurt area (vs. not looking at it) the pain you perceive is less.

Their study also found that the larger the bodily area is in your field of view — looking at it up close — the less pain you feel.

Sort of as if acknowledging the pain and verifying it's nothing life-threatening a the trigger that tells your brain it can turn off the warning light (i.e. owwwwww!).

I have a hunch yelling "ouch" may also be a similar acknowledgement trigger.

Well, I had a chance to test this theory out today. :) I scraped my forehead this morning by accident, and it hurt like hell. Not a hard hit, nothing serious, no blood, just a small scrape. So I went into the bathroom, inspected it — up close — in the mirror (and of course I shouted various profanities when it happened). Well, amazingly enough, when I looked at it, the pain really did drop off. As I write this I can't even feel it. In the past I can remember such a thing would have a prolonged sort of throbbing ouch about it.

Perhaps it's just the power of belief (though there's that research proving it's real).

Whatever the cause, I thought it was pretty cool. No harm done, no need for the pain, so I got it to turn off. Neat. :)

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