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The body has no physical memory of pain.

by fancypants, June 12, 2014
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

It’s a bad feeling in my gut. And I can’t shake it. A fight. A disappointment. Hard to make that go away. It’s a little corner of sadness inside, rubbing up against a smattering of hurt. A bit like a bruise. Black. Blue. Purple. Green. Yellow. But it eventually goes away.

Do you know that the body has no physical memory of pain? Of course yes, we remember what hurt us. And that it was painful. A hand slammed in a door. A finger burnt on flame. But we cannot actually physically recollect that pain. We can’t “re-feel” it. Our pain memory is thought to come from a protein called PKMzeta that controls the flow of information between brain cells. It’s the key to understanding how our memory of pain is stored in the neurons. When PKMzeta is stimulated, pain increases, and so too the opposite. But neurologically, memory is different to actually feeling. It’s a function of the brain alone.

Even though you hit a nerve, science shows that eventually memory of this pain can fade. Oh, science.