High Pain Tolerance: inherited or dissociated?

Whenever I go to the chiropractor to try to deal with this back pain I've had for years (its pretty bad sometimes), they have this REALLY cool... machine thing... I'm not sure what it is called. It has some electrodes that stick to your skin. You lie down on a table, and the chiropractor's helper attaches the electrodes to different places where you're having the most pain or have the stiffest muscles or problem. For me and Carolineine, its certain places in our back. After the electrodes are hooked up, you're covered with warm towels and the electricity is turned on. Apparently the machine shoots electricity through you and into your muscles, to help relax your muscles. I'm sure there is some technical term for this, but we call it "zapping."
The machine can go up to different levels--zapping you with higher and higher amounts of electricity. The helper adjusts it depending on what you're comfortable with. Carolineine and I can both let it go quite high. Higher than most people can deal with. Apparently there is only one other client there that goes to a higher level-- and thats a big man. We're a smallish-sized tiny girl. But we can take being zapped with a lot of electricity. And it really DOES zap you hard. But our muscles and body can take it.
Today as I laid there, Carolineine and I were talking about it. What is it that makes us be able to handle it? Its certainly not the most pleasant feeling in the world... it feels like being pricked really hard with pins and needles, after your foot falls asleep or something. Only it goes deep into your muscle tissue. Is it because we automatically step away inside when our body comes in contact with something painful? Is it just a naturally higher level of pain tolerance? Did we just inherit it from our dad, who doesn't even flinch when he accidently slams his thumb in a car door? (We don't either, although the feeling certainly isn't pleasant... we just dissociate really quickly.)
It comes in handy when we do something painful on accident-- being a clutz, as I am-- always running into things (walls, doors, other people...). However having a high pain tolerance can also be a pain in the butt, so to speak-- because it makes it easy to injure ourselves on purpose like through cutting, burning, or scratching ourselves, or pounding our fists into walls until our hands are all bruised up. We don't feel anything as we're doing it, and thus, don't really have any regrets about it until we realize that we did something stupid and are probably going to get in trouble for it.

Posted by pilgrim | Filed under:


Sounds like a Tenz machine. We had a portable one that you can wear on a daily basis and adjust the levels according to the level of pain that day. It's covered by insurance, either a rental or (a while ago) one you own. Just my two cents.

Sounds like the torture device from "The Princess Bride". Hee hee. Remember? From the Pit of Despair? Hee. "I've JUST taken ten years from your life. Now...tell me how you REALLY feeeel". *whimper whimper*

Hee hee.

Your Sis

PS: I used to have high pain tolerance too. Now I have too much anxiety about pain and I fear it, making the pain seem much worse. But I think we HAD to have very high pain tolerance growing up, because our pain was always down-played. You know, leaving a kid to writhe in pain on the floor from a severe earache will do it everytime.


Having a high pain tolerance can be dangerous as well. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. When most people would be rushing to the ER, someone with a high tolerance for pain might think they'll be ok. They may not know something is wrong until it goes very wrong or, even worse, until it's too late.

I enjoy the electrical stimulas that is done with the stems. Maybe I am crazy but I wish sometimes I could experience more pain as I would know when something is wrong. I have been diagnosed with Als and I believe the doctors are wrong because I have improved. However, since I am in no pain the doctors do not believe that I have had a dislocated disk. Funny, that is what the x-ray showed at the chiropractors. So, I will continue to improve as they scratch their heads and I still feel no pain.

Wow I know what you are talking about, because I actually have pretty much the same thing going on. I went to the chiropractor recently because my back hurt, it wasn't too bad, just every once in a while I would feel a sharp pain.

Found out I had 6 disslocated ribs. :/ I couldn't tell because it wasn't that bad. Ye hahah so a high pain tolerance SUCKS, because I've been screwed up so long that I'm having a hard time getting them back into place.

eh what are you gonna do.

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