Are thrill-seekers more tolerant to pain?

Adventurers may be better able to endure more painful medical procedures, says study

People who seek out thrilling experiences appear to be less sensitive to pain, according to a US study.

The researchers investigated the relationship between sensation seeking — a personality trait associated with seeking out thrill/adventure/new experiences and avoiding boredom — and pain outcomes in 170 healthy pain-free adults.

They tested the volunteers' pain thresholds and tolerance using a contact heat thermode attached to the surface of the left forearm.

They also tested conditioned pain modulation by delivering electric stimulations before and while participants were exposed to painfully cold (10°C) water.

Their findings showed a significant link between sensation seeking and heat pain tolerance, but not pain threshold, the authors report in a poster at the International Association for the Study of Pain World