Study: Occasional cursing can ease pain

Dec. 10, 2011 at 6:03 PM
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STAFFORDSHIRE, England, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Occasional cursing can help relieve pain, but swearing doesn't have the same effect for those who do it often, a British study says.

The study by Keele University in Staffordshire, England, found participants who held their hands in a container of ice water and repeated a swear word could keep their hands in the water an average of 40 seconds longer than those who repeated a word other than a curse, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register reported.

But the study, published in the December American Journal of Pain, found nine of the 67 participants didn't benefit from swearing while holding their hands in the ice water.

And the study found those who swear as many as 60 times a day receive less pain relief than those who curse a few times a day. People who curse frequently do so without an emotional response, which reduces the pain-relieving effects, the study said.

"Language is known to provide emotional relief, but the effects in pain relief would be modest at best," said Steve Faux, a Drake University psychology professor. "It's a cute study, but not particularly ground-breaking. I don't think the makers of Advil have anything to worry about."

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