Heartache is like being burned with a red-hot poker. Yeah, if only that was metaphorical lingo.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a study has found that our brains don't differentiate between physical pain (like that of injury or disease) and pangs of the heart, like the ones we experience after getting dumped. So, basically, we do experience actual pain for our lost loves.
Researchers at the University of Michigan, Columbia University, and the University of Colorado rounded up 40 recent dumpees and put them through a brain scanner. They watched as each subject looked at a photo of her ex and relived the emotional anguish of the breakup.
During these experiments, the love-scorned individuals registered an eight out of 10 on the laboratory pain scale. To put this in perspective, the researchers said if we held a red-hot poker to your arm, you'd experience the same level of pain. Love hurts.
The scans performed in the study reveal that our brains respond to physical and emotional pain in the same way. Up until this point, two areas of the brain that respond to pain were thought of as hot spots for physical hurt only. But that's not the case, as this research shows.
Although this study points to the similarities between physical and emotional wounds, it also highlights a distinct difference.
If you get your finger slammed in a car door, you'll feel angry, upset and distressed, and you'll know exactly where that ache is coming from. If you get your heart broken, you'll experience the same emotions — you just won't be able to pinpoint the source of the pain. Lovely, right?
What are we taking away from this research? We'll never again say love doesn't burn, because science says it scorches like a red-hot poker.