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Is there a limit to physical pain?

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Is there a limit to perceived physical pain, with a point where the brain overloads and you simply stop perceiving it? or does it just go to infinity (theoretically)? For example, if someone were subjected to an alkali bath (google it) would they reach a point where they simply stop perceiving some (or all) of the pain perceptions? Can you die from your brain/nerves overloading on pain? What about other animals (non-human) or organisms that perceive pain?

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If you are referring to this then you have been sucked in, this is utter bollocks...

 

http://thatsfoul.com/you-think-your-day-is-bad-now-it-could-be-worse-top-10-worst-ways-to-die/

 

once your nerves are destroyed you can feel no pain so most of these would be intensely painful but not continuously painful. The anaconda does not swallow it's prey alive or crush it, once your nerves are destroyed by fire you could not feel anything, drowning while horrific to contemplate is finite. All forms of death are finite due to... well... death but some are slower than others.

 

I happen to be in a position to know something about pain having been severely injured and having to endure that injury for quite along time before rescue came, I always thought such pain would bring unconsciousness but it didn't and madness is not far away when you are in that much pain... while i wouldn't have chosen death i was glad when pain meds finally resulted in unconsciousness but the 18 months of rehab that followed were singularly painful as well...

 

Oh yeah, screaming doesn't help much either...

Edited by Moontanman

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Theoretically speaking, however, is it possible to handle (for the brain) a potentially infinite amount of pain sensations of potentially infinite capacity or is there a limit.

If one were, for instance, impaled while being burned/roasted alive would they just stop feeling either of the two? Or would they perfectly clearly feel both at once?

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most pass out once the pain reaches intolerable sensations of such.

the brain shut's it's self down,

 

but i do not know why and how exactly this occurres.

I never had interest to find out

Edited by krash661

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When I was injured I was riding in a boat that hit a channel marker piling. It was 2 am , i was ejected from the boat and i sank to the bottom in 20 feet of water, my leg was broken and bent double the wrong way with the bones sticking out of my leg, my foot was turned around backwards and my ankle crushed and most of the bones in my foot were broken as was my right arm and hand, i had to swim for several minutes to avoid the out board motor which was still running and causing the boat to go in circles. The pain is not describable, my lower leg and foot were flopping around uncontrollably as I swam to avoid the propeller, the only missing was a shark attracted by the blood... ohmy.png I had to climb back into the boat in this condition as the other boaters were unconscious, the ride back to the boat landing was torture and the 30 minute wait for the ambulance was an eternity... no black out for me...

 

As a side note being in the water lessened the pain somewhat but once I was out of the water the pain... I really can't describe it rationally.. returned full force...

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what were your thoughts as you were swimming back up to the boat from the 20 foot bottom of water ?

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what were your thoughts as you were swimming back up to the boat from the 20 foot bottom of water ?

 

 

Getting air and not being chewed up by the propeller....

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So theoretically speaking, what would an alkali bath feel like? Also, what exactly is an alkali bath even? As I understand, there are just as much alkaline substances as acidic ones, and some are completely harmless to the human body.

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Intense physical pain may be alleviated by hormones, such as adrenaline, which can supersede the pain. Some shark attack victims say that shark bites are not intensely painful as a result of the shock that overrides them. With respect to taking a bath in, say, sodium hydroxide, the limit seems to be the point at which the neurones and pain receptors in the skin have been destroyed. It's probably more likely that the person subjected to this incredible pain passes out - if the person doesn't, the pain can only escalate until death.

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Having suffered from chronic pain after my back operation, I have some experience, and went to 6 different pain specialists--none helped.

 

Doctors always ask a person to rate their pain (1 low through 10 high) and describe it as constant, shooting, piercing, throbbing, etc.

 

AFAIK fainting from pain is a myth.

 

IMO pain in missing body parts is a real phenomenon, but not one I have suffered. However, my feet are numb, except for some pain that bothered me for about 8 years. Meditation helped relieve it; although, no medication not even morphine helped.

 

In my experience any level of pain can be endured, and pain doesn't get any worse than 10.

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If pain receptors are involved, wouldn't the limit be how much pain triggering neurotransmitter/hormone it would take to saturate all the receptors? Going further, I think approaching this limit would cause a desensitization of the pain response and ultimately lead to down regulation of those receptors. I think this would be the case because pain is just like any other ligand/receptor interaction. After that, prolonged exposure to that pain would probably cause a normalization to the response via down regulation. What I am curious about though, is if the mind amplifies the pain. I do not think this would be the case because it would not help the body experiencing the pain. If you suffer this pain for long enough and are still alive it might not be causing any real detriment to your well being aside from experiencing the pain itself. Therefore, the brain probably has no reason to amplify the pain at all.

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On 4/20/2013 at 10:15 PM, Moontanman said:

always thought such pain would bring unconsciousness but it didn't

Oh yeah, screaming doesn't help much either...

I know a bit of what you feel i had a foot infection that decayed my bones i have a high pain threshold and have broken three bones and toren a tendon with bearly an ow. But this kept me up at night in agaony and woulf often set me to crying i went 2 weeks like this till a doctor finaly gave me some pain pills. After he squesed the foot and made me scare half his hall with my blood curdleing screem

20180111_091526.jpeg

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I've had various bouts of severe pain in my life, including a shattered ankle, back pain that would make me literally squeal, and diabolical migraines. But the very worst was a tooth abscess. It literally brought tears to my eyes. 

The shattered ankle hurt, but not hugely. I only got it checked to be on the safe side, I thought I'd just sprained it. 

There is a kind of head pain that I've had that is really fleeting, probably no more than a tenth of a second. But it's so intense that I do believe you would pass out, if it lasted much longer. I thought it was just me, but a friend of mine described exactly the same thing to me, a few months ago. He'd never had it before, so he was quite relieved when I said that I got it regularly. 

I've had MRI head scans for head pains in the past, and they found nothing physical, so they put it down to severe migraines. 

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I haven't had those dreadful experiences but no one has mentioned fear.

Does that make the pain worse and should it be classed as a pain in itself?

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1 hour ago, geordief said:

I haven't had those dreadful experiences but no one has mentioned fear.

Does that make the pain worse and should it be classed as a pain in itself?

It's a good point, although I wouldn't class it as pain. I would say that it's similar in many ways though. Fear and pain are overwhelmingly a good thing, for the survival of the species and the individual. If our ancestors hadn't had both, we wouldn't be here now. But fear, like pain, can be debilitating and work against the individual, if it happens to excess and doesn't fade away once it stops being useful.

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I was stung by a stingray once. Probably not as bad as the pain others are describing, but I clearly remember thinking "so this is how I'm going to die".

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12 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I was stung by a stingray once. Probably not as bad as the pain others are describing, but I clearly remember thinking "so this is how I'm going to die".

I just saw an oceanographic special last night where a guy claimed the pain from being stung by a stingray made him, for the first time ever, think about taking his own life. He couldn't imagine being able to survive it, so why not end it quickly? It's got to be bad pain when you start thinking about death the same way you think about removing a bandaid.

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It was years ago that I had the dental abscess, but I still remember the pain. And when the dentist pulled the tooth out, I couldn't believe the stink !!  At roughly the same time, there was a report in the news of a man in Japan who committed suicide by jumping off the top of a high office block, because he couldn't stand the pain of a dental abscess. 

I wasn't at that point myself, but I can fully understand how he came to jump.

Edit: In Australia, in the eastern rain forest area, there grows a tree called the suicide bush. It's related to the stinging nettle, but the stings are so painful that it's reputed to drive people to kill themselves. And the stings can last for years : 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrocnide_moroides 

Edited by mistermack

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On 6/20/2013 at 7:25 PM, EdEarl said:

 

 

AFAIK fainting from pain is a myth.

 

 

Hearsay but I am fairly sure an old friend of my passed out at the dentist's after the dentist forgot to give him anaesthetic.

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I am fairly tough.  Fairly.  Walked 5 miles on a broken leg.  Had  non diagnosed compression fractures in my back for years. Bad heart attack much later.  Broken fingers.  Smashed thumb.  Bad night time leg cramps.  Quinine helps greatly and also stops the Malaria flair ups. Try Tonic water for your night time cramps.  Pain is all in your mind.  I have never actually passed out from it but have come close?  Probably. 

You reach a point where you feel the pain but you do not make it worse.  One tries to side track it.  Sometimes successfully.  I am now old.  Still very beat up.  Just glad to be here.  For young people I say stay in school and get the MS or PhD. and try not to get severely hurt.  Big pain sucks.  After a while your own body can manufacture natural pain killers.  The joggers or long distance runners high comes to mind.

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I had a spine injury last year causing the worst pain I experienced in my life lasting about 5 months up to the surgery. The pain was really horrible, painkillers didn't really work. Once I was in the hospital and I knew the neurosurgeons will remove the tissue causing pressure to my spinal cord, the unbearable pain became nothing. I think pain threshhold is very subjective, my case is a good example.

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18 minutes ago, koti said:

Once I was in the hospital and I knew the neurosurgeons will remove the tissue causing pressure to my spinal cord, the unbearable pain became nothing.

I was like that with my root canal....  (Obviously not as serious as your back but an example of similar acceptance of pain) - I had suffered months of pain which had been getting worse and worse - thumping right up into my temple and deep into my head from the tooth...  twitchy nerve in my eye from it and temple - was hard to eat and very depressing.   When the needle went in from the dentist - although it hurt - I welcomed it with relish knowing the pain would soon be gone....  as the anaesthetic started to work I became very emotional at the absence of pain that had plagued me for months and I actually cried. When she was drilling me - It hurt a little but again the pain was welcomed because I knew it was taking out the nerves that had been torturing me for so long.

On ‎21‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 10:03 PM, geordief said:

Hearsay but I am fairly sure an old friend of my passed out at the dentist's after the dentist forgot to give him anaesthetic.

On ‎20‎/‎06‎/‎2013 at 7:25 PM, EdEarl said:

AFAIK fainting from pain is a myth.

I think I have passed out twice from my back spasming during periods of back pain. I knew it was going to happen both times - I could feel it coming. The second one was more of a shock - it felt like a trapped nerve or a twisted muscle sort of 'snapped' back into place all of a sudden - it was like an electric shock shooting up my back through my injury - it was so weird and I just passed out. I came round on the floor with much less pain in my back than before I fainted - maybe it needed to just totally relax without me stiffening up. After this - I can now take pain in back that would have made me scream when I was younger and laid me up - now I just sort of catch it quick - relax and let it slip into the right posture regardless of the pain and then just get on with it - the pain goes.

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, DrP said:

When she was drilling me - It hurt a little but again...

Dude common...I fully understand and accept that some people like peaches more and some like bananas but a vivid description like that on a science forum...

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Accounts of torture often include the subject passing out. Maybe they do, or maybe they fake it. But people who have been tortured often include passing out, and being revived by their torturers, so that they can begin again.

Maybe we should ask Dick Cheyney.

Oh no, that was just enhanced questioning. :(

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