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A. The Positive Side Of Pain

Narrator: This is Science Today. Physical pain is not an experience many of us consider positive, but it does have its good points. Not only does it alert our body to possible danger but researcher Holly Strausbaugh of the University of California, San Francisco says pain also seems to prevent the body from slipping into states of chronic inflammation.

Strausbaugh: Inflammation is the body's first line of defense against invading organisms or irritants or things like that. And usually inflammation's really good at dealing with these organisms and getting rid of them and making us better. But if it's not properly controlled and it keeps on going, chronic inflammatory disease can result.

Narrator: Pain is experienced when inflammation builds up. Strausbaugh found molecular evidence suggesting this pain then signals the brain to put the brakes on inflammatory response before it reaches a disease state.

Strausbaugh: And how it does that is, it inhibits the first white blood cells called neutrophils that go into the inflammatory lesion.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.