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WTF?!?! Cursing eases pain?

2 comments

I stubbed my toe! Dang!

I barked my shin! Darn!

I got run over by a bus! Dagg-nabbit!

But if I cuss a little, I’ll feel better.

So says a study from “The Journal of Pain.”

BTW, I definitely do not have a subscription to that journal. (You have to pay for it.)

An article at medicalnewstoday.com says that experiments show cursing can provide short-term pain relief.

That is, if you don’t normally curse a lot.

The study, from the School of Psychology at the University of Keele in England, expanded on findings from a study done in 2009 that showed that cursing eases pain.

In the earlier study, it was found that people who endured an “ice-cold water challenge” were able to withstand

Emilio Labrador/flickr

Swearing actually helps alleviate pain.

the pain longer if they repeatedly said swear words than people who underwent the challenge while saying “neutral words.” (what’s a “neutral word” – “vanilla?”)

And what does an “ice-cold water challenge” involve? I shudder to think.

In the newer study researchers discovered that subjects who admitted to using swear-words frequently every day (at a maximum rate of 60 per day, which researchers called a “constant curser”), derived no greater benefit from swearing during the ice-water challenge than from uttering neutral words.

But people who normally only swore just a few times a day were able to endure the ice-cold water challenge for twice as long when they repeated swear-words than when they used the neutral words.

Twice as long? Now that is pretty dad-gummed longer.

The researchers said swearing helps people withstand pain because of the emotional response it produces in the swearer. The emotions – aggression or anger – lead to “stress-induced analgesia,” a natural form of pain relief that results from the surge in adrenaline that goes with the body's natural “fight or flight" response to stress.

However, people who curse a lot become “habituated.” The emotional response becomes weaker with use, resulting in a weaker effect as pain relief.

Used in moderation, one researcher explained, swearing can be a useful alternative pain-reliever in situations where someone can't easily get medical care or pain-relieving medicine.

As a personal injury attorney, I often have clients who have undergone pain, or are even still enduring it. I do my best to help them legally, but I can’t help them physically.

Of course, many people don’t ever want to say a dirty word. But if it can ease your pain without your feeling it to be offensive, I say, “Let ’er rip!”

Gee whiz! I hope this is helpful.

2 Comments

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  1. Annie says:
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    #%@!*#@, i feel better already!

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    I generally keep the expletives mild enough they could be used in children’s animated movies. (Such as “Rats!” — Charlie Brown. Or “Oh, bother! — Winnie the Pooh) But I go to an R rating over red tape and bureaucracy: “What a load of equine manure!” Pain, however, can make me blurt some severe swear words – certainly not to be repeated here!