Paper cuts may be little, but they pack a massive punch in the pain department. If the paper cut is in a particularly bad location, the pain will be even worse. We often wonder why paper-cut pain is so wretched - and long for a cure to make that horrible sting go away.
Don't stress - there are ways to treat this specific type of injury. You don't have to go around with an injured finger forever.
Your Fingertips Have A Ton Of Nerve Endings
Paper cuts on your fingers tend to hurt badly because the hands have a lot of nerve endings, which increase sensitivity. There are more nerve endings and pain receptors in the fingertips than almost anywhere else in the body. Additionally, the nerves are very close together; even a minuscule cut can cause a significant reaction. When you accidentally slice a finger, receptors light up and send pain signals to the brain.
Your Brain Thinks You're Hurt Worse Than You Are
Due to the high amount of nerve endings in our digits, the brain can freak out about finger cuts.The brain realizes the importance of one's hands and pays close attention to their sensory signals. An injured hand is likely to send a fast, intense response to the brain, not differentiating between a large wound and a small paper nick.
Plus, separate areas of the brain deal with different parts of the body. The section of the brain responsible for the fingers takes up more space than the areas devoted to the legs and torso combined.
Paper Edges Are Serrated, Not Smooth
Paper is made from pressed wood particles, which results in rough edges. The sheets look smooth, but a microscope shows the edges are jagged and serrated like a bread knife.
When paper cuts you, the slices aren't precise like ones from a surgical tool. Your skin is ripped and torn, even if the abrasion happens quickly. The tearing motion causes greater reactions in the nerve endings.
Paper Cuts Don't Clot Immediately
Usually, paper cuts aren't very deep. The shallowness doesn't reduce pain, however. Many nerve endings rest right below the top layer of skin, and paper slices down to where the nerve endings are most dense.
These superficial slashes stay open longer; the body doesn't register the need to clot and scab immediately on shallow wounds. Ultimately, the cut is exposed to the air for longer, and the pain lingers.