Why Do Paper Cuts Hurt So Much?

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We all know the feeling; you are turning a page of your favorite book or maybe you’re picking up a paper to draw a masterpiece, when they paper betrays you and slices your skin.

Paper cuts hurt; they hurt a lot more than a scratch or a knife cut, and there is a reason for that. Your hand and the paper are both causing this pain.

Hands Feel Much More

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First, let’s understand that your hand has way more pain receptors, called nociceptors, in it than anywhere else on your body. Your fingers have the most pain receptors.

Paper cuts are usually on your fingers, and due to that large number of pain receptors in your fingers, paper cuts hurt a lot.

Also, you use your hands for almost everything you do daily. Your hands move, pick up things and touch stuff; all that movement stretches the skin, pulls the edges of the wound apart and delays healing.

But that doesn’t explain why paper cuts hurt more than any other cut.

Not Bleeding Isn’t A Good Thing

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Paper cuts bleed only a little bit or not at all.  That means you don’t form a scab.

Scabs close wounds, protect them from germs and give the skin cells a chance to heal. Paper cuts don’t bleed, you don’t form a scab and the nerves in your finger are exposed to air, germs and other irritants, causing them to continuously send your brain pain signals.

Paper VS Knife

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Papers are flexible, whereas knives are firm and sharp. When you cut your finger with a knife, the cut is straight. A paper will flex when cutting your skin doing more microscopic damage.

It’s Not That Big Of A Deal

According to the Scientific American video, part of what makes the pain so bad is the way we think about it. Paper cuts are caused by such a harmless and insignificant thing; paper! Thinking about it that way makes the pain much more severe.