Scientists at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena in Germany have found that talking about pain just makes it worse than it actually is.
The study involved 16 volunteers who underwent brain scans called functional magnetic resonance imaging when they were made to read a list of words associated with pain, and negative and positive emotions. The researchers found that painful words triggered responses in the region of the brain involved in pain processing.
Colicky, Paralysing, Nipping, Gruelling, Afflicting, Squeezing, and Drilling were some of the words that evoked a response in that region of the brain.
"These findings show that words alone are capable of activating our pain matrix. Our results suggest as well that verbal stimuli have a more important meaning than we have thought so far," said Professor Thomas Weiss, who led the study.
The details of the study appear in the journal Pain.