Scientists from Keele University have found that swearing after hurting yourself can help numb the pain of an injury
They discovered that letting forth a volley of foul language could have a powerful painkilling effect, especially for people who do not normally use expletives, reports the Telegraph.
In the study, student volunteers placed their hands in a bucket of ice cold water while swearing repeatedly.
They then repeated the exercise but, instead of swearing, used a harmless phrase instead.
Researchers found that the students were able to keep their hands submerged in the icy water for longer when repeating the swear word, establishing a link between swearing and an increase in pain tolerance.
They also found that the pain-numbing effect was four times more likely to work in the volunteers who did not normally use bad language.
The team believes the pain-lessening effect occurs because swearing triggers the ''''fight or flight'''' response.
''''Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon," said Richard Stephens, who worked on the project.
''''It taps into emotional brain centres and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain.
''''Our research shows one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists," he added.