Not @%#&?! likely! But this post is on a subject close to my heart, pain (must see a doctor about that).
Cartoon expletives aside, a bit of invective can do you the world of good, or so said scientists recently. A research team from from Keele University asked volunteers to hold their hand in freezing water for as long as they could manage while repeating either an innocuous word or the swear-word of their choice. The swearers held out for an average of two minutes, while non-swearers managed only 1 minute 15 seconds. But while Rohan Byrt of the Casual Swearing Appreciation Society claimed the study demonstrated the benefits of swearing, team leader Richard Stephens warned that everyday swearing would lessen its painkilling effects. "Swearing is emotional language" he explained, "but if you overuse it, it loses its emotional attachment" (BBC News
From this week, pregnant women throughout Britain considering "letting it out" to help with the pain might also want to direct their curses towards Dr Denis Walsh, associate professor of midwifery at Nottingham University in England. In an article in the journal Evidence Based Midwifery
, Dr Walsh claimed last week that the pain of childbirth was useful and a "timeless rite of passage", and women should not be trying to avoid it with epidural anaesthesia. Walsh based his statement on the fact that the use of epidurals has almost doubled in the past two decades, claiming that in 20% of cases, the procedure was unnecessary. While some, like Dr. Justin Clarke of the Birmingham Women's Hospital, rejected Walsh's data, saying it was wrong to characterise modern women as "less stoical", others supported him, such as Mary Newburn of the National Childbirth Trust who spoke of there being an "epidural culture" (Telegraph
But perhaps women might be convinced to trade in the needle for a fancy rubber suit? Baltimore company Under Armour has developed a hi-tech, full length bodysuit that is said to allow athletes recover more quickly after strenuous activity. Under Armour's "Recharge" range gently squeezes the athlete's body forcing excess fluid out of the muscles and back into the bloodstream over a period of hours after a workout, reversing the "pumped" effect of the exercise. Research by the University of Connecticut showed that doing so resulted in subjects feeling less soreness and swelling of the muscles and recuperating faster (Journal Gazette
Of course, not everything you wear is good for you. The humble flip-flop, for example, has been singled out this week as a podiatric nightmare by Dr. Perry Julien of the Atlanta Foot and Ankle Center. He claims up to 15% of summer foot injuries can be put down to flip-flops, including pain in the heel, arch, shin and even the Achilles tendon. The problem, says Dr, Julien, is that while they may be convenient, most flip-flops are not designed for long term use, lacking both the raised heel and arch support he considers "must-haves" in any shoe. Julien suggests that flip-flops, like most things, should be used in moderation, adding, "it's less expensive to buy a proper shoe than to have to see a doctor" (CBS Atlanta
Some people who're only just beginning to feel the pain are the passengers on a coach that crashed on the way to a traditional Sikh wedding party. Many on board, including the groom and the groom's parents, claimed to have suffered whiplash, bruising or other injuries that had caused them weeks of pain, and sued the coach company for damages. Unfortunately, being a wedding, the claimants' subsequent behaviour at the wedding reception was copiously documented, and the images of the "traumatised" guests singing and dancing were revealed in court by the company's legal team. Calling it a "'conspiracy to defraud on a major scale", the judge threw out the compensation claims, and sent down the groom, Andrew Singh, and his parents for twelve months (Daily Mail
). Which on reflection is a little harsh; after all a wedding celebration wouldn't be complete without a little "sham-pain".