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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.

Lonny Cain, a graduate of the journalism program at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, has been in the newspaper business for more than 45 years. He and his wife have three sons. They live in Ottawa, where he was managing editor of the local daily newspaper for 30 years, retiring in December 2014. He continues to be a columnist for The Times in Ottawa and is pursuing other writing projects.