Deception is necessary for placebo pills to work, or at least that’s the conventional wisdom. A surprising new study on patients with chronic back pain shows that we still experience the placebo effect, even when we know we’re being tricked.
My mother’s pain has hovered over my entire life. As a child I heard her screams at night, accompanied her to hospitals, watched her careful pill counting with mounting anxiety as the end of the prescription approached. I saw how some people recoiled from her frantic energy in emergency rooms and on the street.…
There are a lot of unpleasant experiences you can go through in life, but few might be as excruciating as the Lego Treadmill Challenge created by the brave souls at WheresMyChallenge. The idea is simple: see how long you can walk barefoot on a treadmill while random Lego pieces are poured on it. The hard part is…
In 1985, a premature baby was born in Maryland who needed surgery to tie off a dangerous blood vessel near his heart. The newborn, Jeffrey, died weeks after the procedure. His family learned afterwards that none of the procedures had been performed with analgesics; the only drug administered was a muscle relaxant.
It’s a common phenomenon: a touch that normally feels a bit painful can feel much nicer when you’re sexually aroused.
The Ig Nobel awards ceremony is a marvelous spectacle encrusted with tradition. But if you really want to know how the winners did their work and why, you need to go to the Ig informal lectures, held at MIT the Saturday after the awards.
Why do we seek out challenging experiences in the outdoors? And why does the pain, suffering and risk make them more rewarding? We talked to a leading sports psychologist to find out.
An analysis conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has found that an alarming number of Americans experience varying levels of pain on a regular basis. Not surprisingly, people who suffer from frequent bouts of severe pain are also having to cope with diminished health.
Dentists are scary. Even in the most modern medical scenario, it is undeniably horrifying for someone to stick sharp objects in your mouth. Imagine what it was like 14,000 years ago. Actually, you don’t have to because a team of scientists just found the earliest example of dentistry, and it’s fucking horrifying.
Sex should be fun, but for many people pain is not. Nevertheless, sex sometimes surprises us with a side of pain. It might be fleeting–from a lack of lubrication, an unexpected muscle cramp, some chafing or pinched skin, or it could be the result of a more serious medical condition. But whether it’s from shame or…
Who cares if smartphones give you eye cancer and brain tumors? There's something much worse that your cell and tablet are doing to your head: They're giving your neck and lower face a crease. A crease. That's horrifying and you're doing nothing to stop it.
Pain. Tears. Hurt. Agony. Numbness. Burning hell. When an entire orchestra decides to make the questionable life decision to all eat the world's hottest chili peppers at the same time and then perform a song, all of that and more happens to them. For us watching though? It's just funny as hell.
Jabbing a steel needle into your flesh is not ever going to be fun, per se, but scientists have found a way to make it at least hurt a lot less. The trick is actually fooling your nerve cells with a small device that applies pressure and vibration. Here's how it works.
While it's still unclear whether or not plants can actually feel us sinking our teeth in, one thing is for certain: You can be damn well sure they're hearing it.
Humans are, essentially, sadomasochists. For more 600 years we have sought out, cultivated, eaten, applied to our skin and even weaponized a chemical capable of making us feel heat and pain.
Pain medication is many, varied, confusing and, on occasion, ineffective—which is researchers around the world dedicate their lives to working out how to treat our discomfort better. This documentary takes a close look at where new drugs come from, and how they might help us all in the future.
The Lego Firewalk has to be the most twisted, most diabolical, most cruel invention ever created by humankind. There's no way in heaven or hell that anybody can survive this walking barefoot without collapsing into a sobbing mass of trembling flesh, furthering the excruciating pain.
Right up there with how the gun on the original Duck Hunt game worked, why it hurts so much to step on a Lego brick is one of the questions we're asked the most, so it's high time we answered it. As anyone who's done it knows, stepping on a Lego block is something akin to being shot in the foot by a knife soaked in…
Pain is a strange medical phenomenon: dull or sharp, mild or intense, it's difficult to describe and so often tough to treat, too. But we're increasingly understanding how pain affects the brain—and this video explains what we know.