Torture Changes the Way You Feel Pain Forever
Including psychological torture
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2013 10:40 AM CST

(Newser) – Torture doesn't just hurt you once, it keeps on hurting you forever, a new study in the European Journal of Pain suggests. Researchers examined 104 Israeli soldiers who fought in the 1973 war between Syria and Egypt, 60 of whom had been taken captive and tortured, gauging their reaction to mild pain stimuli like heating pads and pressing a nylon fiber into a finger. The POWs exhibited a significantly stronger response, Medical Daily reports.

"The human body's pain system can either inhibit or excite pain," the lead author explained. "In Israeli ex-POWs, torture appears to have caused dysfunction in both directions." Another interesting finding: Even POWs who hadn't been physically tortured, but had been subjected to isolation, mock executions, and other harsh treatment, exhibited altered responses, Pacific Standard notes, which could change our very definition of what constitutes torture. It's unclear, however, whether the torture directly caused the change, or whether chronic pain over the intervening 40 years had played a role.