I have always thought it to be true - the notion that triathletes tolerate pain a whole lot better than most.
This article published today by Triathlete Europe seems to reinforce that belief.
My personal experience, while recovering from two major abdominal surgical procedures in the past few years, was that I found medical and nursing staff were constantly saying to me, "are you sure you don't need more pain relief?"
In both instances I was hooked up to a self administering morphine pump and in the case of the most recent operation, had an epidural left in for a few days post op as well.
I would be lying if I said I didn't need it at the time, but used less often than most in similar circumstances and was taken off, by all accounts, a lot earlier than expected.
My pain threshold seemed to remain quite high and I mostly managed with panadol and the rare resort to something stronger.
This higher pain threshold was also evident when a friend went into labour last year. As her partner was serving overseas I with her for the birth - drug free - as she became a first time Iron Mum!
Her ability to ignore pain almost had her giving birth as we drove to the hospital, for a brief moment it looked as though we may have to pull over to the side of the road.
We made it, but baby was born within half an hour of arrival.
So I totally agree that "triathlete's pain tolerance yields medical benefits" and that surely is a huge plus in times of need (may they be few and far between).
If our ability to hurt more one day helps the rest of the world suffer less, those visits to the pain cave during training and racing will have been all worthwhile.