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Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
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I notice that when my husband smashes his finger with a hammer, he curses and swears and acts like a big baby. When I dropped a heavy box on my foot, it hurt like the dickens but I didn't rant and rave about it. Do you think men are just more sensitive to pain? Or are men more likely to yell and shout and be done with it. I was still complaining a week later and he never mentioned it again.

Many studies have been done on pain perception and differences by age, gender, and even personality type. Measures of acute pain have been made looking to see if some people just experience pain sooner and more intensely than others.

In a recent study from Vanderbilt University, pain intensity was compared for two groups of people based on their anger management styles. One type of anger management is called the anger-in management style. This refers to the person who holds emotion in and doesn't express it.

The second anger management style is called anger-out. This is the person who verbally and/or physically expresses anger easily. Your husband may be an anger-out individual, while you may be more of an anger-in person.

In the study, everyone was exposed to three types of pain. There was pressure as the tip of the index finger was squeezed with 2000 grams of pressure. Forearm ischemia was next. Ischemia refers to cutting the blood supply off to the area for a short time. And third, heat was applied to the forearm. The temperature was raised until the person couldn't take any more.

It turns out that there was no difference between the sexes. The main difference was whether or not the person was in the anger-out group. This group had more intense pain and less natural (endogenous) opioids released. Or at least there were fewer opioids measured in the blood.

It's possible that both groups release the same amount of opioids but they just don't get picked up and used by the cells in the anger-out group. Or perhaps their tolerance level for pain is higher and the opioids aren't released until much later.

The person smashes the thumb then screams and hollers. About that time, the natural pain relievers are released and they feel much better. This is just one way to explain it. There are many explanations but very few facts known about pain response/pain control.


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