Confronting Pain Makes It Hurt Less

Better make that
dentist appointment, because it’s only going
to get worse and not just for your gums. Anticipation of pain
can be a major source of anxiety for people who
deal with it routinely. It’s also probably
the reason you haven’t been to the dentist
in, oh, three years. And a new study sheds
light on how dread of pain can be worse than the
actual pain itself. We know based on prior
research that the fear of pain can produce two responses
in people of confrontation and avoidance, although
most people probably exhibit some
combination of the two. Psychosocial factors
are big in shaping in how you respond to pain. Experiences you’ve
had in the past will determine how
you deal with it. But that avoidance
strategy– i.e., not making that
dentist appointment– can have consequences
beyond cavities. It can result in a phenomena
called exaggerated pain perception. But even newer
research has shown that when faced with
inevitable pain, most people will choose
to get it out of the way as quickly as possible and would
even accept worse pain quickly rather than having
to wait for it. A group of
researchers in England measured this by offering
people real painful stimuli– electric shocks– along with
choices on how to receive it. And what they found is
that the unpleasantness of the dread of pain is actually
worse than the pain itself and, even further,
that the dread can get worse the
longer it’s delayed. Does this ring true with you? Do you tend to work through
pain and ignore it or prefer to chill out and rest? Let us know your story on
Twitter or Facebook at DNews. Thanks for watching. See you next time.


  1. I hate pain but when it's inevitable, i just bear it. Surprisingly, it doesn't hurt as i thought it would at the dentist when they are sticking the anesthetic needle gun into my gums. I'm used to it, i just hate the pinch feeling.

  2. Thriller riders are the same for me. As well as it is always worse the 2nd time on the ride than on the first because of the anticipation.

  3. perception alters pain a lot in my experience, some things you'll even react like there was pain even without it simply because you expected the pain, like stubbing your toe. manage to not actually hurt it but you might still say "ow" and grab it until you realize you didn't actually hurt it at all.

  4. I don't mind pain If I hurt myself if I fall of my skateboard or bike and I have cut my leg open I will just stand up and cary on because the biggest thing to do is put the pain to the back of your head and forget about it

  5. I hit my leg with my scooter by accident, and it left a bleeding wound. Didn't feel anything until I found out about it a few hours later. I then started to feel amplified pain lol.

  6. The most liberating and inspiring part of my labour with my little man was when I went to the bathroom alone, and had to face my contractions without my mom or doula – my mind went from focusing on them (begging them to make it stop) to facing it myself (deep, low moaning and focusing inward). Between contractions I told my doula "It hurts less if I don't scream", in that moment I found my true strength and had my baby an hour later, drug-free and so, so amazed with my own strength.

  7. if your about to pick up an object which you think is going to be hot and burn you even if its not hot you will feel a burning sensation before you have touched it

  8. I've only been stung by a bee once. I didn't have much of an issue with bees before, but since it happened, I've had a bee phobia and it's only gotten worse, even though I know it isn't all that painful. This might just be the reason, the idea of the pain is much worse than the actual sting is.

  9. For me it depends what kind of pain. I'm not scared of dentists and I can easily go whenever I need to. However, I am very phobic of injections. I haven't had a blood test in years and I doubt I'd go unless I REALLY needed it. 

  10. The last time I went to the dentist (a few years ago) the stuff they injected into my gums to numb the pain didn't work so when they would drill into my teeth I could feel all of it, yet I wasn't really able to say anything because I couldn't actually make out words. The pain was excruciating, I'd rather wait until I actually need to go back to the dentist before I go again. Just thinking about the sound that drill makes, and the vibrations of it hitting my teeth make me cringe.

  11.  btw dnews… Can you guys do a video on the vocal cordS. Just how many voices can the human body make? Ive heard people BARK exsactly like dogs and it did not sound like a normal vocal cord was being use. Ive heard people talk in such a demonic tone and i was told they inhale when doing it? Just how many voices do us humans have? and just how much of or vocals do we even use? and if you could maybe put detail in on how we can "Discover" them ourselves…

  12. I normally say a lot of obscenities and laugh the whole time I'm in pain. Every time I've been in terrible pain I've laughed.

  13. I just take in the pain and take as few painkillers as humanly possible. I think people overuse that stuff and not only is it bad for your intestines, it's not required. Just lay down and suffer for a bit, if you can't even sorta rest THEN take a painkiller otherwise wait it out, it's not that bad.

  14. They could have studied people who get tattoos. Even though I've gotten plenty of tattoos, the anticipation of the pain when I get a new one is always worse than actually getting it. Feels like a prolonged cat scratch, but I always think its going to hurt more than that before it starts.

  15. That's why I prefer surprise pain. Like whenever I get my piercings. Don't tell me just stab me and then I can think about the pain later (especially if it's only painful for a second). Same with getting my body waxed. Just hurry up and end it already

  16. 3 years …. try like 13 years, and i'm 27…. still tying to get to that maniac =(

    C'mon Dentists are like Evil Clowns, only with power drills and shiiit.
    And needles DON'T forget the NEEDLES ! !

    I actually want my mama when going lol >>(overly manly man)…no?…oh =(

  17. I fucking HATE getting Novocaine injections at the dentist. HATE IT. If I could replace all of my teeth with instantly with indestructible, identical ones, I would do it. I've had 9 teeth pulled in total now, and those injections don't get any better no matter how many times I get them done. Call me a pussy, but there's something I don't like about a metallic object piercing into my flesh and having a substance injected into me.

  18. Well, when I'm about depilate myself, I always think how it will hurt, but when I'm doing it I always think "well I got used to this quickly!"

  19. I'm kinda afraid to say this, but I do like the current comment section. showing the best comments gives me lots of responses on topic, i.e. people talking about pain and dentists and stuff.
    Showing the newest comments I get a lot of people pointing out Annies breasts :/

  20. In Psychology, fear of pain is known as negative reinforcement. Basically we respond or behave in certain ways in order to avoid a negative outcome. For example, leaving for work early to avoid getting stuck in traffic, or putting on sun cream to avoid getting sunburn. We fear the negative outcome (which could be pain) so we alter our actions to avoid it.

  21. Not England. It's Great Britain or the UK. It's offensive to us people from other parts of the UK. That's like calling the USA Texas.

  22. I had a cat that scratched me daily and I recently had a dog that bit and scratched me daily and it was painful but I started to notice that my cuts healed faster if I got scratched more often. long story short if you get more cuts and scratches you will heal faster

  23. Hey DNews, I was wondering if you could talk about why people feel like they're walking much faster after running on a treadmill?

  24. Pain is relatively easy to ignore. Just do what normal people do in order to temporarily minimize pain by avoiding relationships and taking up a hobby like drug abuse.

  25. Well, I just confront the pain, but one of the most painful thing I experienced was in Chile, those ass doctors "from the government" don't know nothing about being a good dentist, and injected me lower amount of anesthesia than average, and had to bear the pain of removing my wisdom tooth. (From there I really hate chile). And when I played GTA V, specially that torture part, when I remove the poor guy's tooth, made me feel pain and petty for him :/

  26. I don't not go to the dentist because of the pain i dont go because i have a phobia of the dentists. And every time i go the dentist makes me feel so terrible that i cry when i leave.

  27. Yes, it's true! Knowing your going to have to go through pain is far worse!! The birth of my first child was rough (of course), but when I had to be scheduled for an induced labor with my second child, I had a panic attack in the middle of the night before going to the hospital for my induction. I turned all the lights on in the house, turned on the television, made my husband get up to keep me company, paced the house…and finally, at 5:30 am we could leave for the hospital. It was only when we were on the way to the hospital that I started feeling better because I knew it would be over soon!

  28. I think this is true…the dentist thing was correct I hated going to the dentist and having money out of my pocket for pain lol..until my job had full free healthcare  and I needed a root canal I was like oh crap this is going to hurt…then I asked how much would it cost they said zero…I was like ok no problem…I was more than happy to deal with the pain…and it didn’t hurt as bad as I thought.

  29. What you do when you try to avoid pain is exhibit fear, Fear isn't actually real. Fear is the response of your body to a situation when it has no other response. Thus it can be easily avoided. Just remember fear is only a figment of your imagination.

  30. What you do when you try to avoid pain is exhibit fear, Fear isn't actually real. Fear is the response of your body to a situation when it has no other response. Thus it can be easily avoided. Just remember fear is only a figment of your imagination.

  31. the doctor said if you relax, it won't hurt as much. i was acting up while getting the shots. true, the last time i had a shot, i flinched and it hurt for a while and now i refuse shots, i had to confront it.

  32. When I was little I got some fillings for my cavities and they didn't use laughing gas or any type of anesthesia so it hurt like F***, like I was crying and sobbing due to the extreme pain, and a few years later i needed like three more so I was super scared to get them again. I got so anxious I was actually playing it cool until i got to the F***ing room where they did it then I freaked the heck out. But the only thing is they used laughing gas this time so it wasn't that bad, just minor pain. I had been worried for nothing the whole time.

  33. Dentists never scared me and I was never afraid of them, they always gave you gifts so the pain didn't matter much. I just trusted them to do their job and they did.

  34. What about chronic migraine/headache sufferers?  Im pretty sure my dreading a headache isnt worse than the actual headache.

  35. I am weird…. When somewhere hurts i hit it hard, and then i get called weird…. by my friends…. XD Fight fire with fire!

  36. Does this phenomenon occur with mental or emotional pain? Is fearing failure worse than experiencing failure? Just randomly curious.

  37. What about when your "friends" start talking badly about you and your emotional pain starts spiking and the only way you can deal with it is by shoving things up your butt. So far ive been able to fit 3 bananas and a catelope. My rectum is burning like the heat of a thousand suns and I want to know how to make it go away.

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