Athletes Feel No Pain
According to the results of a recent review of 15 studies on the subject, athletes have a higher pain tolerance than the general population—even when not exercising (read: adrenaline and endorphins aside). Their pain threshold (or the point at which an athlete begins to feel pain), on the other hand, was found to be no different than that of a run-of-the-mill couch potato.
Ultimately, what the review suggests (but doesn’t explicitly prove) is that training and exercise could lead to better pain-management and coping skills. When something hurts an athlete, he or she doesn’t find it any less uncomfortable; he can, though, work productively through whatever is hurting without becoming crippled by minor to moderate aches and pains.
“[A]thletes are forced to develop efficient pain-coping skills because of their systematic exposure to brief periods of intense pain. Therefore, pain coping is an integral part of athletic training, and coping skills are important features in the development of athletic character,” the review commented.
That’s not to say, though, that some athletes don’t take it too far.