No pain, no gain. But really, is it worth it?

Aside from a small subsection of the world’s population, most of us do everything we can to avoid pain! But what if you didn’t have to? What if you simply didn’t feel it? You could do a lot…or not.

You might be thinking that pain-free living is just another high-concept, hypothetical scenario we’ve come up with for your entertainment. But for a handful of people around the world, this is a reality.

And it’s not as pleasant as you might expect. This rare condition is called CIP: congenital insensitivity to pain. It was first reported in 1932, following an accident with a hatchet that didn’t involve screams or tears. But just because you can cheat pain, doesn’t mean you can cheat death…

Living with Congenital insensitivity to pain would put you at high risk for a short life. At first, your parents might feel blessed to have a baby that rarely cries. But once you become a toddler, their relief is replaced with constant worry.

You can walk, and run, and dance, and jump. But self-awareness and getting used to your body will require some trial and error. From accidentally biting your tongue while teething to unexpectedly tripping over your own feet, without learning from the experience of feeling pain, you could spend your childhood in bandages and casts, but never know why!

This “invincibility” might make you popular at school, but not with insurance companies… You’d make an excellent stuntman, soldier, daredevil, or firefighter.

You’d be lucky to avoid the pain of childbirth, but how would you know if something was wrong? While the world consumes about 14 billion doses of pain medication daily, the ability to feel pain is actually crucial to your survival.

After all, your body is without a warning system. So while you might be smart enough to know that not everything is good for you, how would you know what’s bad for you?

Drug companies are now aware of this rare condition, and they’re looking to learn from it, as well as cure it. For example, a Canadian biotech company called Xenon Pharmaceuticals is studying CIP with the hope of being able to treat those who suffer from chronic pain.

And in a world where 1 in 10 adults are diagnosed with chronic pain every year, this research could help a lot of people. Paradoxically, other companies are developing drugs to actually help people feel pain!

You know it’s for CIP, but it still sounds strange, doesn’t it? So far, there’s medication that regulates the overproduction of endorphins. But it doesn’t work for everyone, and there’s still a lot to be learned about congenital insensitivity to pain.

So the next time physical pain makes you cry, be sure to shed a tear of joy while you’re at it. No matter how much it hurts, pain is really good for you, because it teaches you to avoid common threats and dangers, and not to repeat dumb mistakes.

So no pain, no gain. Let’s keep it that way.

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