Why do small wounds hurt like hell when you run them under water, but only for a few seconds? What changes in that time?


I’ve always wondered why when you rinse a new cut or blister it stings like crazy for a moment but then the pain mostly goes away and it feels like nothing. What changes? Are the nerves changing their signal? Is the blood nearby doing something?

In: Biology

I’ve never noticed this, could you give a little more details?

Part of it is a phenomenon called ‘Lateral inhibition’. In essence, pain, temperature, and texture information from your nerves can’t be sent at full volume to your brain. The more senses that get activated in a specific area, the quieter each one gets. Pain receptors activate the fastest, so they start at 100% and then get muted as the other senses realize they should be talking to your brain too.

tldr: Imagine all your senses as people talking to you at a party. It’s harder to pay attention to a specific voice as more background voices get in the way.