Yourwellness – The Gateway to living well
New research into the relief we feel from pain, whether it’s stress related or physical, suggests that the psychological mechanisms our bodies go through when pain is removed is known as pain offset relief. This study has found that whether you’re healthy or display a history of self-harm, you’ll show similar levels of relief when the pain is removed – this shows that the offset relief that scientists have found is a natural reaction which is used to help regulate our emotions.
Feeling pain can lead to a negative show of emotions, which we are already aware of, but little has been studied about how we feel when the pain is removed. Does this offset, for example, link itself to positive emotions or are the negative emotions just removed? The study involved using electrodes to measure the participants’ negative emotion levels, with eye-blink startle responses, as well as the positive emotions which were recorded through the muscle activity behind the ear, with responses to loud noises. The participants showed an increased level of positive emotions and lower levels of negative emotions following the pain offset. Scientists are keen to delve into this further, since the results show that the body is capable of providing an emotional level of pain offset relief, which could shed some light on why some people seek the relief found from self-harming behaviour.
The participants, whether they had a history of self-harm or not, were assessed for their level of emotional reactivity and psychiatric disorders. With a similar test used in the study itself, using electrodes, the researchers were able to measure the level of emotional responses to loud noises, whether alone or when combined with painful shocks. In an interesting result, it was noted that healthy individuals displayed pain offset relief levels which were comparable to those with a history of self harming. There was no link between the pain offset relief and the frequency of self harming. Researchers suspect that the biggest risk for non-suicidal self-harm is how people overcome the instinctive barriers that stop most people from self harming.