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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: It's OK to moan and groan now and then



Sorry. I'm OK. Just a little bump. No pain at all.

That little cry of pain ... it's part of my routine. Not daily but at least weekly. In fact, it's often part of my dinner routine. The sitting down part.

The small, round table in our kitchen is perfect for the two of us. Perfect in size, but not design. The table legs bow out, leaving a nice space to slide into the table. But we don't slide straight in. We plop on the chair and swing in ... right into the bowed-out leg.

"Ouch." We say it and move on. It's not a truly painful "ouch," just irritating.

Now let me make an observation. I find myself, after a bump here and there, automatically saying that word.

Clearly "ouch" or the simpler "ow" are words we absorbed when growing up. Of course, it's been studied. A quick online search finds the U.S. Association for the Study of Pain and this headline: "On the Importance of Being Vocal: Saying 'Ow' Improves Pain Tolerance."

And a study that concluded: "Participants immersed their hand in painfully cold water longer when saying 'ow' than when doing nothing. ... Like other behaviors, it helps cope with pain."

I am fascinated by the simple truth that often there is no pain. And I am left wondering, why did I say "ouch"?

Still ... science says it helps to moan when your stomach aches or head hurts. So when I crack my knee against that table leg again ... and I will ... I will just grumble my "ow" and move on.

Knowing, of course, that what was really hurt was not my knee. Just my pride.

I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.