Pain Threshold – The minimum intensity or duration a sensory stimulus is needed to produce pain.
Pain Tolerance – A measure of the amount of pain that a person can withstand prior to breaking down either emotionally or physically.
Now let’s put it into layman’s terms. I could get a general idea of your pain threshold by very slowly pressing a thumb tack into the palm of your hand. Once you begin to feel the pain, we have identified your pain threshold. For the most part, the majority of individuals would begin to feel the thumb tack at or around the same time. Where we differ is the amount of pain we can withstand prior to yelling “uncle” and quickly jerking our hand away (pain tolerance).
Someone with a low pain tolerance may pull away the moment the pain is felt while someone with a high pay tolerance may allow me to deeply pierce them with the tack and possibly still not yield. This is why certain self-defense and pressure point techniques will work great on some people but won’t work at all on others. It also reinforces our need to learn which parts of the body are most susceptible to pain compliance and to focus our energy on them. Remember, hitting them where it hurts isn’t nearly enough. We must hit them where it stops them.