Togetherness Boosts Pain Threshold
Could pain be less painful when you’re not alone? That’s the suggestion of research conducted at Ohio State University, where mice with a painful nerve condition (similar to the peripheral neuropathy suffered by 20 million Americans) were put in two groups: one group paired each mouse with a cage-mate, and one group lived alone. An Ohio State news release reports that the researchers who measured the animals’ response to pain found that it was lower for those who lived with a companion. Wait, there’s more: research conducted at Oxford University four years ago found that something similar can happen with humans. Gretchen Reynolds reports in the New York Times that elite rowers at the school were asked to push themselves to the max while working out on rowing machines. Some of the rowers were alone, and some rowed in a group. The researchers found that those who exercised together had significantly higher pain thresholds than those who rowed alone.