This is the edge of a paper under the electron microscope: the reason why cuts with leaves and folios hurt so much
Yesterday I sliced my finger with a bread knife. Unintentionally, I must add. And no, it wasn’t a knife analysis that got out of hand: it was an accident. Although I must say that, although the ‘first impressions’ were not good, the knife cut well: I don’t know if I would give it ten stars, but I do know that they gave me four points.
So when this morningI’ve seen people talking about why a court with a sheet of paper hurt so much, I’ve seen it as a sign. I would be lying if I told you that the idea of making a cut with a sheet of paper to compare knowingly has not crossed my mind, but in the end sanity has prevailed and I have started to dive online. Why does cutting a paper hurt so much?
A little studied question
It is enough that you yourself do the search on the net so that you can see that a lot has been written on the subject, but very little research has been done. Fundamentally because there is no ethics committee that approves that of torturing research subjects just to satisfy a curiosity as cloudy as it is useless (no matter how recurrent it is). As far as contemporary science is concerned, sadism only has a place in sexology labs.
And of course, in the absence of good research, what we are left with are the hypotheses. Y there are many, but the related to anatomy are the most popular. Does a fingertip cut hurt the same as an equal (identical, clonic) cut on the arm or calf? I know that pain is one of the most personal, non-transferable and subjective things that exist, but let’s grant the thought experiment.
And regardless of the result, anatomical logic tells us no. The areas where we usually have paper are not only strongly enervated, but they are full of nociceptors, the receptors of negative stimuli. That is, those responsible for translating tissue damage or irritation into pain.
It makes sense, although as a victim of a self-inflicted knife-wielding attack, I don’t quite see this as the essential difference. Yes i can admit the idea of, as paper cuts do not usually bleed, the healing process (through coagulation) be more bulky and complex. But that is, in any case, an explanation for why it takes longer to heal, not that it hurts more.
Hmmm … The explanation that convinces me the most is that, although it does not look like it with its straight, white and sharp lines, the paper is very rough at the microscopic level. Unlike the sharp metal knife the paper acts on the wound as if it were sandpaper And that, of course, is much more abrasive to cells and nerve endings.
The image above is speaks for itself: the edge of a paper under the electron microscope. With that image in mind, paper cutting seems all of a sudden a really terrible thing. What’s more, it looks like, the paper also leaves small fibers and chemical residues that promote much greater wound irritation. Don’t call it ‘paper’, call it ‘ser a fucking party for the nociceptors‘. A party that, apparently, is very painful.
Image | PSU