Is high tolerance for pain part of GFGness?


Sheena-Warrior Momma
Is high tolerance for pain part of GFGness or is it just our difficult child? I would appreciate any advice.

So, Saturday this past weekend our difficult child tells me he gets kicked in the sternum by a kid doing a front flip in PE. Total accident! He says his chest hurts. I think it's just a bruise because he hasn't mentioned it till Sat and it happened Tuesday.

Tuesday he is practically in tears after he goes running around the pond in the back yard to blow off some steam for the day. So I did some checking and he had some pain in one of his right ribs and I think he might have fractured it. by the way I never got a call from the school about this and it was hard enough to knock him down and make him cry for the better part of PE! :grrr: He has a male teacher and like most men has the "shake it off" theory.

Last night his sister goes in to give him his monthly hug :rolleyes: (she is after all a teenager now and can't give evidence that she loves him.) and he comes out practically in tears again which is unusual unless he is raging. I now have to call the doctor to see if he wants to see him and get an x-ray on the poor guy :crying:. I sent an email to the principal and let her know what is going on because every time he runs, jumps, bends it hurts severely so he has to stay out in during recess and not be able to burn off energy (y'all know what he's going to be like when he gets home) :surprise: .


Active Member
When my son is in a depressive state, every bump is a "major injury" to him. he has recently mentioned, on a couple of occassions, that he goes through phases where he "doesn't really feel pain or it doesn't hurt as bad as it should". i asked if this happens when he's angry or if it lasts for a few days. it appears it might be connected to cycling, to me.


Active Member
Sensory integration problems can manifest as high tolerance to pain. Plus, kids who are active, running around, often don't notice some quite serious injuries at times. But to not notice for so long - sounds like Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) to me. You find Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) in autism, I know that, because we've had similar incidents with our kids. difficult child 3 fell head first out of a tree (he was pushed) and after a 2 metre fall landed on a rock on his head. But he had also been eating an ice block (icy pole?) and dropped it in the fall - his main concern was where his ice block had got to! From his symptoms, he had concussion.

Are there any other sensory oddities? Fussy about certain foods, or certain textures? There may be some oddities in his behaviour that, when you think about it, have a sensory basis. Some kids wear their clothes inside out, for example, because they don't like the feeling of the seams against their skin. Certain fabrics get avoided (my kids refuse to wear pure wool next to their skin). Sometimes it's an obsessions with certain textures, sounds, sights or whatever. easy child 2/difficult child 2 is obsessed with the feel of fur or fur fabric. difficult child 3's fixation is towelling. difficult child 1 HATES to have his clothes washed because he likes his clothes and bedding to smell 'familiar'. He's washing them more often now, but it's something he has to work at.

I think you find Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) in other conditions too, but I can really only talk about our experiences, with autism.

I agree with klmno, when Pixie is "euphoric", she can fall down a flight of stairs, get up, dust herself off, and go about her day. If she is already down, things seem to hurt her easier. Of course, that is probably because she is miserable, and can't handle anything that goes wrong. But yeah, I have noticed an OVERALL high tolerance of pain...AND an almost fearlessness, that gives me heart failure. She is not afraid of anything. Yikes.


Sheena-Warrior Momma
Now that I think about it he does have some other things that Marguerite mentioned. He hates tags and the seams in clothes, loud noises, he covers his ears a lot if loud noises happen (4th of July, music, etc), hates mashed potatoes because of the texture but loves french fries and is generally a fussy eater.

He does cycle (now that I know what that means) and when he is "up" he is fearless (scary) and resistant to pain but when he is "down" a paper cut is a major issue. He fell down one day and barely scraped his palm but was crying hysterically sitting in the middle of the street and wouldn't get up. But he will also pick at his skin (especially on his arms) until he creates a scrape that will scab over and then picks at the scabs. He also uses his fingernails to rub his fingertips until there is a blister and then pops it. He says none of this hurts when we ask.

This certainly helps me tell the psychiatrist what other things are going on when we go for an evaluation. It helps to know that there are other parents going through these things. It seems my whole family has easy child's and don't understand or think it our parenting but yet we have 2 easy child's.


New Member
I remember high tolerance for pain being a possible symptom of ADHD when I was having my difficult child diagnosed. That was the only sign of ADHD that he didn't have.


New Member
My difficult child#2 has a very high tolerance for pain. He is a little better about listening to his body now that he is an adult but as a kid he seemingly had no pain threshhold. It is a symptom of sensory issues and also autism spectrum disorders. i think I would have his chest xrayed to make sure there are no broken ribs. Broken ribs are very painful and can be dangerous depending on the nature of the break. -RM


Former desparate mom
My difficult child has poor sensory integration issues. He doesn't seem to think that feeling poorly and very hot may mean a fever. If he ever says he thinks he is sick, we would be ready to take him to the er. He is seldom self aware enough to notice pain unless it's been going on for a while. He can't regulate his a/c thermostat because he can't tell if he is too cold. He usually can tell if he is too hot.
When in grade school he wore shoes that he outgrew in a growth spurt. They were 2 or 3 sizes too small. Yet he never mentioned it until I asked why he kept taking his shoes off. He then said they were tight.
It's the same with bowel training. difficult child didn't quite get that the sensation he was feeling meant something needed to be done. He has a disconnect.
High pain tolerance but easy irritability with tags or seems or scabs.
You know, this just dawned on me...years ago, I had a job where I worked with daughter adults. One fella was autistic and had MR. Well one night we went bowling, and dude dropped the ball on his foot. Picked up the ball and bowled 3 games. Only when he changed his shoes to go home did we see that his big toe was smashed. He never uttered a peep. Had we not seen it, we would have never known that he hurt himself. His toe was broken and required stitches. The sock had to be cut off because the blood had dried and congealed...oh the poor guy.

Now that is a high pain tolerance.


Well-Known Member
I can't say that I have had that experience with my son. We do not appear to have any sensory issues. He potty trained by himself and definately feels pain (is a pretty good complainer about little stuff).


Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
My difficult child seems to have a high tolerance for pain and often laughs that he has a hard head-lol. on the other hand, he does know when he is sick and lets us know as welL!


My difficult child has zero tolerance for pain...but then that goes hand in hand with her anxiety and depression, in my opinion. Now, when she was a toddler nothing stopped her. The low pain tolerance didn't appear until around age 6 or 7.


My son has a high pain tolerance. It is part of his Sensory Integration Disorder (SID).

The Out-of-Sync Child by Kranowitz might be a good resource for you.