Science has worked out why paper cuts hurt so damn much
As far as injuries go, paper cuts look pretty harmless, but theres no denying the fact that they can feel disproportionately agonising. And when you look at what’s going on at a scientific level, paper cuts are surprisingly brutal, as Ferris Jabr explains in a recent episode of Scientific Americans Instant Egghead. For starters, the fact that were most likely to experience paper cuts on our nerve-coated fingertips makes the potential for pain pretty high from the start. Our fingers are covered with plenty of neurons, including nociceptors, which are there to detect any potential harm, such as from harsh chemicals, high temperatures and also pressure that might break the skin, as Jabr explains. Any of these feelings will trigger electrical and chemical signals that make the brain painfully aware of an injury, and this tell us to stop doing whatever it is were doing. But a paper cut doesnt just cause the pain of a regular cut. Although it may look like a pretty clean incision, if you look at paper under a microscope its actually a nightmarishly jagged surface that rips apart our cells and nerve endings. The piece of paper cuts through skin more like a small saw than a knife, Jabr explains. As if that wasnt horrible enough, paper leaves behind chemical particles, irritating the wound.” Because paper cuts are so shallow, they actually dont bleed or clot very much, which leaves all your tissue and nerves exposed. Ouch. Plus, theres also the psychological pain, which comes from knowing that we can be injured so badly by something as small and innocuous as paper. We made you paper, why do you have to be so mean?
Science Alert, 16 February 2015 ;http://www.sciencealert.com.au ;