Why are paper cuts the worst kind of pain?

Published on December 8th, 2011
Why are paper cuts the worst kind of pain?

What do you get when you cross a human finger with a paper’s edge? Try a grown man crying like a little girl. All of you on one occasion or another experienced such excruciating pain.

It turns out that fingers and paper pair perfectly to produce a potent witch’s brew of pain, with each ingredient bringing something special to the mix.

Ever wonder why it’s so painful? Well, our fingers are coated with an extremely high concentration of nocireceptors, or nerve fibers that send touch and pain signals to the brain.

As for paper itself, it’s the perfect battleaxe. Sharp-edged enough to break skin, but too blunt to make a clean cut, paper carves through fingers like a dull, jagged saw. It doesn’t cut deep, which only makes matters worse: it keeps the blade riding high, at surface level, where nocireceptors that send the sharpest type of pain signals are typically concentrated.

So that’s why.

We bet you couldn’t stop thinking about paper cuts while reading this could you?