Everybody has experienced pain at some point in their life, and according to worldwide data, 1 in 5 adults experience it regularly. Additionally, many more people receive news of chronic pain diagnoses annually. The global pain industry produces many drugs to help bring some relief to people who experience pain. Additionally, alternative medicine offers some valuable solutions. However, there is still a lot that science hasn’t discovered yet. Below are some of the surprising facts science can prove about pain.
Women feel more pain
This is not a myth, and neither is it an exaggeration. According to scientific research, women have more nerve receptors than the opposite gender. Therefore, from a physiological point of view, the female body is naturally wired to feel more pain. Findings revealed that the adult female (18 years and over) has 17 more nerve endings in every square centimeter of skin. In other words, women have twice more nerve fibers as men. This explains why women feel more pain than men when exposed to triggers. Apart from the pain sensation, science has also proven that the duration is often longer. While a man takes a shorter period to recover from pain, a woman needs a longer time.
Redheads feel less pain
There are several myths about redheads, but this is definitely not one of them. At least, science and medical research proffer reasons. The genes responsible for their striking hair color do a lot more in the body. A 2009 report on this subject stated that even though redheads feel less pain, they perceive it differently. Compared to blondes and brunettes, the redhead may have a higher pain tolerance. This explains why the latter are harder to sedate. For instance, a non-redhead can buy OTC drugs and feel better in no time. However, the ginger will require a higher dosage of the same medication to get relief.
Chronic pain shrinks the brain
According to a Northwestern University finding, chronic pain can significantly impact brain volume. Although this was first discovered in 2004, it was not until 2017 that scientists began to see how that happens. Their research discovered that the Parietal lobe located in the middle part of the brain is to blame. This lobe interprets touch and pain. However, when it continues to intercept pain, it begins to shrink. The reduction in brain volume is usually noticed on CAT scans.
Specialists say the reduction can be as much as 11% compared to the average-sized brain. The report also indicated that the reduction in brain volume does not impact cognitive thinking. A person’s intellectual abilities remain the same even when they live with chronic pain. The only explanation now may be the fatigued neurons that contend with persistent pain. Fortunately, more research is being conducted in many developed nations to better understand and solve the problem.
To conclude, pain tolerance often depends on the person experiencing it. Science is yet to determine the factors behind the differences in brain chemical compositions and their influence on pain.