Swearing really can relieve pain, but only if one doesn’t do it daily.
Researchers at Keele University in England have considered this topic before, and most recently, they studied whether people who swear more often in everyday life get as much pain relief from cursing as those who swear less frequently.
Researchers recruited 71 participants who completed a questionnaire that assessed how often they swore. Pain tolerance was assessed by how long participants could keep their unclenched hand in icy water (5° C, capped at 5 minutes) while repeating a chosen word. The word was either a swear word (self-selected from a list of five words the person might use after hitting their thumb with a hammer) or a control word (one of five they might use to describe a table). Interestingly, one person was excluded from the study because they did not list a swear word among their five choices.
Results appeared in NeuroReport.
Swearing increased pain tolerance and heart rate, and decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing. But, the more often people swear in daily life, the less time they were able to hold their hand in the icy water when swearing compared with when not swearing. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*