What is Congenital Analgesia?

Although the inability to feel pain may seem like some sort of superpower, it is actually more accurately described as a disability. Congenital analgesia is a rare condition in which a person cannot feel physical pain. People who experience this disorder have no physical abnormalities and are still able to feel things by touch. However, they are completely unaware when they are being exposed to extreme temperatures or are experiencing an internal injury that produces no visible symptoms.

What makes this condition dangerous is that the inability to feel pain doesn’t mean you can’t get injured. Young children with this condition often suffer many injuries as babies because they are unaware that they are hurting themselves by doing things such as chewing through their tongues, placing their hands over a hot flame, or breaking bones accidentally. Pain is our body’s way of telling us that there is something wrong. So when you are unable to feel the warning signs, this can lead to serious or even deadly complications. 

Luckily, congenital analgesia is quite rare—with only 20 cases ever officially reported