Does one feel a bullet to the head?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Andrew256, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. Andrew256 Registered Senior Member

    I'm Russian and I think this is a myth. Not 100% sure, but considering how much anti-russian propaganda shit is circulating around globe, I'm willing to bet this was made up.
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  3. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    If you find something in English on this I'd be happy to read it. T/Y
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  5. Jake Arave Icthyologist/Ethologist Registered Senior Member

    A few things, the poster who remarked about the speed of the bullet relative to the speed of neuron signals:
    • This is based on the assumption of immediate brain death
    • Where in the brain specifically does the shot strike?
    I can tell you that a shot to the brain is rarely immediately lethal — the victim is usually conscious for a brief moment before shock sets in. [2] Just long enough to feel excruciating pain. Assuming immediate brain death, which again, is quite unheard of. The victim would need to become unconscious or dead within several hundredths of a second to avoid feeling pain. It’s possible as well that the nervous tissue is simply destroyed by the bullet itself before conscious pain signals are able to be felt.
    If you wanted the most common sense answer, and the one that is technically correct, barring most unlikely scenarios, a gunshot wound to the head is extremely painful and carries a high mortality rate. [2]
    That being said however, headshot wounds, and other wounds that penetrate the skull are more survivable than you might think. About 10% of people suffering close range headshots do survive. And any one of them is liable to tell you how painful it truly is. [1] A specific case study which much physicians and scientists refer to when studying head-trauma is the case of Phineas Cage. He famously survived an injury in which his head had become entirely impaled upon a railroad spike.


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    Now Mr. Cage makes an awesome testimony to the survivability of particular brain injuries — seeing as his injury was what physicians refer to as a “perfect injury.” Meaning he was injured in such a way that he had survived, though a small deviation in the localization of the rail spike would have meant certain death. The same basic principle applies to gun shot wounds, and it’s why we have a realistic prediction model to estimate the mortality rates for such accidents.

    1. eMedicine, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - Definition, Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, 2009, and Penetrating Head Trauma, 2009. New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Cranial Gunshot Wounds

    2. Journal of Neurosurgery
    May 2014 / Vol. 120 / No. 5 / Pages 1138-1146
    Predictors of outcome in civilian gunshot wounds to the headClinical article; Bizhan Aarabi, M.D., F.R.C.S.C.1,

    Demonstration of injuries suffered by Mr. Cage including the tragectory and relative placement of the rail spike.
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
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  7. gamelord Registered Senior Member

    Your calculations are a complete fallacy.

    The average handgun is 1200 fps which is what the average suicider person would use.

    Second of all the speed of the bullet is irrelevant, what we are discussing is the nature of consciousness and at what point does consciousness continue to be part of a compromised nervous system. Second of all I have personally met a guy who was shot in the head twice and lived.
    I have also watched documentaries where people are still conscious while shot square in the head and driving their cars to escape.

    You seem like a scholarly man, my question to you is this. Why does pain feel unpleasant to the soul?
  8. Michael 345 Bali tonight Valued Senior Member

    Please direct your your opinion to the relevant links I checked to obtain the related calculations

    Not aware of dealing in averages

    I would question that

    "nature of consciousness "feeling pain before disappearing equals the discontinued point. Is that a problem?

    I personally have looked after, as a registered nurse in a hospital, someone who shot themself in the head but I fail to see any relevance to the original post

    Relevant how?

    With regard to the post by (Jake Arave said) you replied

    Please supply links showing / explaining how pain feels unpleasant to the soul

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  9. gamelord Registered Senior Member

    Get real man.

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    This is your post man.
    if you can't see why this post is a fallacy i will explain it for u.

    "No survivers if my calculations are correct"
    - obviously a fallacy. Because people have survived a bullet to the head.

    Second, you say "Not aware of dealing of averages"

    When your original post says "The average bullet travels at 2,500 feet per second."

    Does it though?
    By bullets do we mean, tank bullets, Jet fighter bullets, ship bullets, etc. All which are outside the scope and intent of the original post.
    The original intent of the post was to discuss small arms.

    So an average rifle travels at about 3000 fps.
    An average smg travels at 900-2000 fps.
    An average pistol travels at 600-1500 fps.
    An average shotgun travels at 1200 fps.
    So I fail to see how you got the average muzzle velocity as 2500 fps.

    The final fallacy you do is you meantion the brain speed as 268 mph, then go on to say that since all bullets are faster than 268 mph, you say "Based on my calculations, NO" that the victim could not feel the pain in his head. When the bullet speed is largely irrelevant of the pain he feels in his head, except in the sense of the wound size caused related to bullet speed.

    I don't have the links, I was asking Jake for links.
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    About souls? Jake didn't mention anything about souls. That was you.
  11. Kittamaru Suppose it makes sense. Wearing a bit thin. Valued Senior Member

    In all honesty, the speed of the bullet is irrelevant - it's the speed at which consciousness is lost that matters. If your brain is destroyed entirely, it doesn't matter if it is by a supersonic bullet, or a ten ton tractor tire landing on your head from a drop of 20 feet - either way, if your brain is annihilated before the signals for pain reach it, then you won't feel anything; otherwise, you will, for however long you are conscious and alive to feel it.

    Now, the other interesting thing - pain signals have been shown to travel faster than tactile signals.

    Essentially, if you are dead or unconscious within around 250 milliseconds, you won't feel anything.

    Now, the scary bit - most shots to the head are not "instantly lethal" - especially with more common handgun rounds (.22, 9mm, etc) - often, they bounce around a few times and turn you into a vegetable, but if you are found and given medical treatment, there's a fair chance you'll survive. The pain would be excruciating, though, and the few moments before you lost consciousness would feel like an eternity in hell.
  12. gamelord Registered Senior Member

    I doubt it. Pain makes time slower but not to a complete stop. Pain is a matter of perspective, it is often the word "pain" which causes pain. For instance, I injured myself, without knowing it, and after a while I noticed a strange sensation. Once I saw the blood everywhere, I thought "PAIN" and all of a sudden, the strange sensation turned into an annoying pain.

    The few moments before you lost consciousness I doubt you would feel anything, other than a bit of strangeness that you had finally been "had" and now cannot escape your end.
  13. TheFrogger Valued Senior Member

    The human brain is without nerves.
  14. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    And often without brains.
  15. Michael 345 Bali tonight Valued Senior Member


    The brain is composed of nerves

    It lacks pain receptors

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  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    It's an interesting discussion in many ways. Bullet speed is a factor only in the additional kinetic energy that additional speed implies. In that regard it makes a lot of difference to the damage done. In the case of an ICBM (missile) dropping from space back to Earth, no warhead short of nuclear is needed as the tremendous speed produces enough kinetic energy to do the damage that a chemical warhead would do. Speed kills.

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    I think it is correct that pain is not felt in the brain. Even if it is, shock would probably delay that pain as it does elsewhere in the body. Finally, being shot in the head would be less painful than being shot in your foot where there are a lot of pain receptors.

    Short pain before you died (if that was the result) wouldn't be a big deal, no more than hitting your thumb with a hammer. In one case the pain is greater but there is little lasting damage. In the other you probably die. That is difference and not the pain.
  17. Kittamaru Suppose it makes sense. Wearing a bit thin. Valued Senior Member

    From the accounts of people who have been shot, it would seem to depend on whether or not shock sets in quickly:

    In general, being shot has been described as one of the most painful things you can imagine, once the shock wears off.

    While technically true that the brain itself has no pain receptors, the bits around the brain are chock full of them.

    I'm not so sure that a head shot would be that painless - as I said above, if you are instantly killed (or nearly instantly) then sure. However, there are plenty of cases where shots to the head/face aren't instantly lethal, and are even survivable - in those instances, once the initial shock wears off, the pain of having a hole put through your head would most likely be immense.
  18. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    The earliest memory I have of the Vietnam War was of a village chief who had been shot in the head. The VC held a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. The shot severed both optic nerves but he survived.
  19. Michael 345 Bali tonight Valued Senior Member

    I'm guessing you didn't ask him about pain

    And I'm guessing no one volunteers to be a test subject

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  20. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    I'm guessing it was on the Evening News With Walter Cronkite, c. 1964.
  21. Jake Arave Icthyologist/Ethologist Registered Senior Member

    All the external features of the face and head are quite pain sensitive however, though you are correct that the brain lacks nociceptors (which I assume is what you meant)

    Interestingly, brain surgery could hypothetically be performed under only local anesthetic without the patient experiencing any pain or discomfort.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    It's not hypothetical. It often IS performed with the patient conscious, so that the surgeon can determine that a structure he's about to pass through isn't critical to the patient's cognition. (Or to determine that the electrode is in the right place in the case of things like deep brain stimulus.)
  23. Jake Arave Icthyologist/Ethologist Registered Senior Member

    That would make sense, I don’t happen to know much about invasive brain surgery or how it’s performed, but wouldn’t a patient being conscious create certain difficulties? I wonder what could happen to cause further damage during such an operation.

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