Sunday, December 6, 2009

Defying Pain

Men are expected to be tough not just in the face of danger but in all circumstances. When it comes to pain tolerance, studies show that the difference in sex or gender influences pain perception: that women usually display lower pain tolerance than men. Thus, a man's higher tolerance for pain, afterall, is not an issue of machismo but has physiological basis.
Whether the mechanisms underlying this difference are hormonal, genetic or psychological, no one can tell yet. However, some researchers said that men can be more motivated to express a tolerance for pain due to masculine stereotyping, while feminine stereotyping encourages pain expression and lower pain tolerance.
Pain tolerance is the duration of pain intensity that a person is willing to endure at any given time. Tolerance for pain varies from person to person, and may even fluctuate for an individual. In addition to sex or gender, factors affecting pain tolerance also include age, race and ethnicity, motivation to endure pain, past experiences with pain, coping skills, and energy level.
There is a wrong notion that past experiences with pain increases pain tolerance. On the contrary, repeated experience with pain can make a person be aware of how severe a pain can become and how difficult it is to get a relief. That is why it is possible that someone who has repeated experiences with pain may have a higher level of anxiety and less pain tolerance.
Unrelieved pain, such as depressed immune function, decreased subcutaneous oxygenation that leads to infection, and respiratory dysfunction may produce detrimental effects. Pain management can help minimize, if not totally eliminate, enduring as much pain as possible.
Society has high regard for people whose pain tolerance exceed beyond expectations. Those who defied pain from poisonous insect stings and animal bites, as well as pain from vehicular crashes, accidents and natural disasters all have made it to the elite list of the Guiness Book of World Records.

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