Cold water could provide an alternative to strong painkillers. Picture: Pexels

A bracing dip in cold water could provide an alternative to strong painkillers, doctors believe.

A British man was cured of the debilitating pain he had been suffering for ten weeks after a short, sharp plunge into the open sea.

Experts have now called for research into cold water therapy as an analgesic, believing the shock of sudden immersion may have disrupted his nervous system and jolted him out of a cycle of pain.

Following an operation, with strong painkillers not working and desperate for some relief, the unnamed 28-year-old dived from a rocky outcrop into the 11C water below as a ‘distraction’. ‘Tingling with cold’, the patient then realised he no longer felt any pain – even after getting out just 60 seconds later. He no longer takes his painkillers.

Writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports, Dr Tom Mole from Cambridge University and Pieter Mackeith of the University of East Anglia describe an ‘unexpected, immediate, complete and sustained remission’. The experts believe the shock of it led to an ‘altered state of consciousness’.