The over medication of children is a huge concern in the Western world. Many parents are worried about giving their kids pills for every little thing during a time when their bodies are still developing, and understandably so. As it turns out, kids have an effective pain killing ability that we jaded adults have completely lost.
On the plus side? More pills for us.
That ability is imagination. A child's ability to enter a made-up dream world is actually so strong that it has psychosomatic effects on the body. According to this study, getting a child to imagine that he is floating on a cloud is actually a more effective pain reliever than prescription drugs. The study concentrated on stomach pain, one of the most common childhood ailments and one that usually has no obvious or serious reason behind it.
Instead of subjecting kids to unnecessary pills or expensive medical care, the doctors found that using "guided imagery" (basically the same sort of thing that meditation tapes do) can usually completely eliminate abdominal pain with no medical intervention whatsoever.
Shut up and imagine.
It turns out there is a reason you grab your ankle the second you sprain it tripping over a table leg, spilling Mountain Dew Livewire all over your pewter Dungeons & Dragons figures. It doesn't make sense logically -- none of us has glowing E.T. fingers, yet we all do it.
Apparently this is because touching our own wounds helps our bodies deal with pain as it allows our brains to better "map out" the part of our body the pain is coming from. The more information the brain gets about the actual location, the better it can process and effectively deal with the pain. So actually, grabbing the afflicted area with two hands is the best option if you want it to feel better faster.
One way or another, that pain is gonna stop.
Say what you want about religion, but science says it can literally take your pain away. Researchers found that devout Catholics are better able to handle electrical shocks than atheists or agnostics, at least as long as they're looking at a picture of the Virgin Mary.
We'll stick with Vicodin and sloe gin.
Participants of all beliefs were told to look at two different paintings while their hands were being shot up with electricity. Those of the Catholic faith reported less pain when looking at a painting of the virgin mother as opposed to a painting of a random lady by Leonardo da Vinci, while the atheists and agnostics did not feel any pain relief no matter what painting they looked at.
It seems, this is more than just your run-of-the-mill placebo effect. The religious test subjects showed increased brain activity, while non-religious subjects had no increased brain activity. In other words, while the pain relief might have all been in the subjects' minds, looking at the painting actually did decrease the amount of pain they experienced, which is more than can be said for most holistic medicine practices.
Whereas grilled cheese sandwiches and cotton balls tend to just piss people off.
Alcohol is also a good painkiller. See how in The 6 Most Surprising Ways Alcohol Is Actually Good for You. Or learn what else music does for you, in 7 Insane Ways Music Affects The Body (According to Science).