We’ve all been slowed down by pain, right? But have you ever stopped and thought about why? What is the purpose of pain?
Contrary to what you may believe, the purpose of pain isn’t to annoy you, although slowing down might be a good idea. The goal of pain is to keep you alive. Pain lets you know that you have tissue damage, which could end up ultimately being fatal. It’s a good warning system.
Is having a high pain tolerance a good or bad thing? Unfortunately, people who can only feel high levels of pain are less likely to change their behavior. This can allow more tissue to be damaged which might lead to disability or ultimately death. In rare cases, kids are born without the ability to feel pain. They often have shorter life spans. Think of a child with a small infection on a cut or scrape. Normally they would seek help for an infection because they would feel pain and inflammation. Without feeling these symptoms, that infection could be fatal. Other times, some people’s definition of a high pain tolerance actually means that they ignore pain. This is also unhealthy. Ignoring pain can create some severe mental and physical health problems.
Speaking of mental health problems, what do you think can occur from ignoring pain? Depression and anxiety are the most common. People are also more likely to smoke cigarettes, vape, or have a drug or alcohol problem.
Along with mental problems, what physical problems are caused by ignoring pain? Digestive disorders, ulcers, acid re-flux and GERD are common. Sleep disorders such as insomnia or frequently waking up can occur as well.
Tissue damage in your body does more than just send pain signals to the brain. Tissue damage also sends messages of irritation, but not signals that you can physically feel. This can cause the brain to behave in a state of stress. Long term stress in the brain can lead to abnormal function of the heart, digestive tract, and hormones. If you know someone who has been ignoring their pain or has been covering it up with medication, let them know that it’s best to find out why the pain is there and correct the cause of the issue.