On the importance of being vocal
Vocalising when you are in pain is a common behaviour. The aim of this study was to investigate whether vocalising is analgesic and if it helps to tolerate pain longer.
Fifty-five participants were included in the analysis. Under five conditions, participants were asked to place one hand in ice cold water for as long as possible while either saying ‘ow’, listening to a recording of them saying ‘ow’, listening to another person saying ‘ow;, pressing a response button, or say nothing.
Participants were able to keep their hand into painfully cold water longer when saying ‘ow’ compared to doing nothing. Pressing a response button had a similar effect but hearing someone else’s voice did not. The self-report outcome measure of pain was similar across all conditions. These results show that vocalising pain helps individuals cope with their pain longer, but that this is not only communicative. The authors suggest that motor processes contribute to this effect. They raise the potential for using vocalising in clinical settings.
> From: Swee et al., J Pain (2015) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the Pubmed summary.