American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
July 13th, 2009
08:06 AM ET

[BLEEP!] That hurts! Swearing helps?

By Caitlin Hagan
CNN Medical Associate Producer

OK America, I confess: Sometimes I can be a little bit of a potty mouth. (Mom, maybe this is not a great blog for you to read.) Yes, I know those dirty little words are unbecoming to some and I really should watch my language (and I really do try!) but sometimes, when I’m walking through my condo and I stub my baby pinky toe on a table leg and the pain takes my breath away and brings tears to my eyes and makes me freeze with my foot mid-air in ridiculous pain….well, I can’t be held accountable for anything four-lettered I may say. (D**n it!)

Thankfully, Dr. Richard Stephens and his team at Keele University in the United Kingdom just published a study that says swearing actually has a pain-lessening effect. (See Mom? It’s healthy!) When we swear, we increase our threshold for pain, meaning we can bear it longer and don’t feel it as much. Stephens is not sure why this happens, only that for some reason, “swearing appears to increase our pain tolerance.”

Keep reading this story »

What do you think? Is swearing helpful or distasteful?

Filed under: Health
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. H R Ingram III

    Distasteful? Sure! But it DOES help! I KNOW; I do it, too!

    July 14, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  2. Cindy

    Of course it is distasteful! I don't believe every expert's advice. It is just like that 'pole' they are advertising on television that says you can lose weight with it. A pole that is used in questionable bars! We do not sit on our sofas and absorb everything that is seen on TV. We can think for ourselves, thank you.

    July 14, 2009 at 7:19 am |
  3. Linda

    Swearing to ease pain is about the craziest thing I have ever heard! We have enough trouble keeping the 'potty mouth' words out of a child's reach, now a stupid doctor wants to say it is okay because it will ease pain!

    I know God is shaking his head. What a horrible society we are promoting.

    July 14, 2009 at 6:26 am |
  4. Larry

    Always works for me.

    July 13, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  5. arol pierre

    my younger brother once had his winky pinky caught in his zipper and
    swear a million times although I didnt understand what he was saying at the time because he was born here and I was still in Haiti when he visited. I asked him a thousand times if he felt better after swearing , he kept on swearing and yelling it hurts it hurts.
    so I don't think swearing helps ease any time of pain in fact it just creats more anger.

    July 13, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  6. Sharon,Daniel Island, South Carolina

    New Car, rear ended by teenager that tells me he was not looking out of his window because he had to pick up his cd from the floor. I let loose a series of verbs,adverbs,nouns that would make a sailor blush. I felt much better when I had to deal with the hwy patrol and my insurance company

    July 13, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  7. Scott

    I've done my share of swearing but as I've gotten older my opinion has changed. Swearing in public is offensive. I believe it lowers ones image immediately-particularly the "F" word.

    July 13, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  8. michael armstrong sr.

    I once got my animale caught in my zipper and stated swearing a hole bunch but it didnt seem to help much.

    July 13, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  9. viki anderson


    July 13, 2009 at 8:20 am |