Why do our faces contort when we’re in pain? © iStock

Why do our faces contort when we’re in pain?

There is likely a physical and social reason for tensing up your face when in pain.

Asked by: Richard Fennell, by email

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People in pain typically have lowered eyebrows, raised cheeks, tightened eyelids, an open mouth, and closed eyes. One reason is to escape from the cause of the pain. Tensing up your muscles and screwing up your face scarily might do that. Another reason is to let others know you are in pain, because you may need help. In a sociable species like humans it is important that we can read each other’s states of mind.


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