How to Improve Tolerance for Pain?

Tolerance for pain is a different concept from pain threshold. Pain tolerance is how well you endure pain before it become absolutely unbearable, while the pain threshold refers to how much time it takes for one to start feeling pain when engaging in a pain inducing activity.

Research has been done to determine who feels more pain and how well they endure it and it has been established by the Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University Medical Center, that on an average, whites can tolerate pain better than Asians. Blacks were occupying middle ground and men tolerate pain better than women and old people tolerate pain less than the young.

The same study also showed that while the old people can’t stand deep pain, they seem to be better equipped to handle cutaneous pain. But this is only for physical pain. For emotional pain, each individual seems to tolerate it differently depending on the situation. But overall, for prolonged pain as opposed to momentary pain the old and women tend to handle it better.

Instead of rushing straight to the medicine cabinet to pick some pain killers every time you feel even the slightest of pain, here are some tricks you can try to increase your tolerance for pain such that you can work with the pain and it does not immobilize you.

  • First, dismiss the myth that repeated exposure to pain will increase your tolerance. Quite to the contrary, instead it will make your nerves more tender and raw. This can only work if the nerves are damaged in the process and so can no longer transmit. Also, slowly increasing the pain causing circumstances can improve on someone’s appreciation of the pain caused and so tolerance.
  • Exercising, especially the long and enduring ones like running or cycling, are known to improve the pain tolerance level of a person. Because they are fit, they are better able to endure pain and also have a high pain threshold.
  • Everything is felt as per our perception of it, so there are some mental strategies that you can try to improve your tolerance levels. One can try meditation, breathing techniques, and hypnosis. Once you control your mind, you can tell what is and what is not true.
  • Researchers from Keele University’s School of Psychology have come up with the conclusion that swearing can help improve your tolerance for pain. It appears that somehow when you swear, you trigger the ancient ‘fight or flight’ that will automatically minimize the pain so as for you to be able to survive. That explains why you always feel better after swearing.
  • Resting enough will increase your tolerance. Well rested people are less likely to be plunged into a migraine by traffic noise as opposed to people who are in a continuous state of fatigue. So if you have been neglecting to rest and wondering why you are in so much pain, there is your reason.
  • Have positive thoughts and emotions, stay away from negative vibes and energy. If you are continuously berating yourself then you are bound to be in a terrible amount of pain most of the time. A weak mind is a ripe field for pain, especially emotional pain. You will not be able to tolerate it at all, with even the slightest of jabs causing you huge amounts of pain.
  • Try and alleviate stress any way you can, because it will make you susceptible to pain all that much more. Stress puts down all your defenses leaving you vulnerable and exposed to any pain attack. You will not be able to put up any resistance if you are stressed out, so take some time out and chill.
  • Steer clear of pain medication, especially for minor aches such as a tension headache. Most people take medication even for the smallest of pains and this makes them unable to bear any pain whatsoever. The constant use of pain relief medication will leave you unprepared to deal with an actual major pain that unfortunately sometimes pain medication can do nothing about.

We can tell you how to improve you tolerance for pain but we are not telling you to ignore it. Any new pain that is out of the ordinary should be investigated for cause and the necessary action taken. Once you know what causes the pain then you can work on how to make it less i.e. improve your tolerance for it.

3 responses to How to Improve Tolerance for Pain?

  1. I have a very high tolerance for pain. One technique I have is to try to mentally pinpoint precisely the center of the pain. This gets me thinking ABOUT the pain, rather than REACTING to the pain.

    Another technique is to just relax. Meditate on the fact that you’re not dead!

  2. I have to study a lot and I need a good pain tolerance, so I listen to music a lot. However, it is good for one hour only. After that, pain is back. I think exercise is a good method like bicycling three time per week for one hour . Thank you!

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