Why is the natural instinct to pain (even internal, such as an ache) to recoil this limb in towards your body?

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Why is the natural instinct to pain (even internal, such as an ache) to recoil this limb in towards your body?

In: Biology

I know this isn’t meant for educated guesses, but this is extremely logical. You would want to bring it towards you, so that if something IS attacking you, you would be a smaller target.

There’s two types of receptors on the surface of your skin; pain receptors and touch receptors. Touch receptors have a way faster response time, as soon as you touch anywhere on your body you feel it immediately. Pain receptors are much slower, notice when you stub your toe for example and it takes a second or two before the pain begins?

This is why people rub an area they are feeling pain in. Bumb your elbow? You reach with the other arm and start rubbing it really fast. Hit your knee you hold it or rub it. The sensation of the touch receptors can override the sensation of the pain receptors. This is why it feels better to hold or rub an area you are feeling pain in.

Now onto your question; it’s not that you are recoiling the limb towards the centre of your body, it’s more you are bringing the limb closer to hand that can alleviate some of the pain by touching it. You bash your knee, you recoil the limb towards your body so one of your hands can rub it. You bash your elbow, you recoil the limb towards your body so the other arm can rub it.

If you hurt your head, you don’t bring it down towards your body, you bring your hands up to it.