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The Science Behind: Pain

Cover page- Sara Chaudhari

We’ve all felt pain. Whether we’ve fallen down, gotten a paper cut from our homework, or been pinched by an annoying sibling. We all know the feeling, it hurts, but why does it hurt? And how does it hurt anyway? Why does our body even have a system that makes us feel bad in the first place?

First of all, how do we feel pain? Pain is felt through sensory neurons called pain receptors or nociceptors. These receptors are heavily distributed in the skin; they’re in our muscles, our joints, and even most of our essential organs.

Pain receptors have molecular sensors that are able to detect any extreme temperatures or toxic chemicals on the skin. Mechanical nociceptors, which are another type of a pain receptor, respond to any pressure or deformation of the skin such as pinching/poking or pulling a muscle. When any of these actions happen, receptors send nerve signals through nerve fibers, A-delta fibers, and C fibers, to the spinal cord and brain. The signals are then transmitted to various parts of the brain, and the sensation is registered.

Now we know how we feel pain, that’s pretty simple. But why do we feel it? The purpose of our body/brain is to protect us from harm, then why does it even have a system that makes us feel hurt? This was my biggest question, but it turns out the answer was right in front of me the whole time.

Our body/brain’s purpose is to protect us from harm, yes, but we cannot do anything to stop us from that harm unless we know it is actually happening.

A world without physical pain would mean every time you fell down, stepped on something sharp, broke a bone, or did anything that caused damage to your body, you wouldn’t realize it nor do something to stop it. That injury you got would keep damaging your body but you wouldn’t realize, because you wouldn’t feel the pain. You wouldn’t do anything to stop it either, and it would continue.

On the other hand, in a world with physical pain, if the same thing happens, the pain would make you realize that your body is getting damaged, and you would immediately do something to fix that damage. Because by doing so, you would also be relieving your pain.

This is why pain is necessary and important for our bodies. It makes you realize the damage that is happening to your body and gives you a reason to try to eliminate it.

It’s like the hero in a villain’s disguise. It might seem it’s bad, but it’s actually for our good!

Our body beats fire with fire, it gives us the pain to relieve us of the greater pain/harm that is happening to our body.

Isn’t that strange?

Our body and brain work in mysterious ways and it’s always fun uncovering those mysteries... Hopefully, all our viewers enjoy reading about them too!

Happy Learning,

Ishita Baghel


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