Pain is a very complex concept to understand and treat since it is different for every person. What may be mere discomfort to some can be debilitating pain to others, due to a number of factors that make up how such sensations are interpreted. Pain tolerance, or the ability to withstand physical discomfort and distress, can differ from person to person; what affects that difference may be surprising. From the BCS Pain Clinic, it is learned that there is more involved in pain tolerance than willpower.



Although there are many factors associated with pain tolerance in addition to conflicting information, an individual’s tolerance can be related to the following:

Age – Research shows that internal, more chronic pain seems to be better handled the older a person becomes which explains why older people experience chronic discomfort and yet complain very little. On the other hand, with cutaneous injuries to the skin’s surface, tolerance increases with age which would explain why children can experience wounds such as scrapes, cuts and burns with fewer complaints after initial discomfort while abrasions and bruises cause extreme discomfort for older people.


Sex – Although the picture is often painted that men have a higher pain tolerance than women, it is a bit more complex than that simple statement. Many studies have shown that men have a higher motivation to ignore discomfort due to societal perceptions, women complain of discomfort sooner yet endure it better and have a higher pain threshold.


Endurance Motivation – Experts at the BCS Pain Clinic have found that motivated people can do amazing things, including withstand extreme physical distress. Conversely, those suffering from depression and other emotional concerns are frequently unable to withstand even minimal levels of discomfort. Tangible rewards can increase a motivation for pain tolerance, while at the same time chronic distress can get to even the most motivated individuals, increasing the chance of depression and reduced tolerance.


Weight and Fitness – Generally speaking, a person at an ideal weight and physically fit will usually withstand different types of discomfort. Being overweight and out of shape adds extra strain to any painful areas, increasing levels of discomfort as well as the chance that tolerance thresholds will be quickly reached.


Past Experience – Those who have had discomfort before do not become more tolerant. Studies have shown a decreasing level of tolerance possibly due to understanding the pain that will be experienced. So chronic pain can definitely have the effect of seeming more painful to some the longer it happens.

Tolerance and Pain Management


Since there are so many variables involved in tolerance and threshold levels, pain treatment regimens available to the individual will be directly affected. Interventional management methods may include: medication and blocking procedures; dieting and controlled exercise for weight loss and strength building; therapy to treat pain-related depression and emotional issues; and counseling to teach pain coping methods to help get the most out of treatments. Any medical management will help those dealing with discomfort, and any family members to create realistic expectations about the pain treatment.


Through the combination of a good treatment program and an appreciation of a patient’s pain tolerance and thresholds, pain management experts can provide understanding of symptoms and how to combat them in order to live a more comfortable, productive life!


BCS Pain Clinic Can Help Handle Pain Issues!


Are you having trouble managing your pain alone? Call the BCS Pain office at 979-764-7246 to schedule an appointment and help with pain management today!