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The Anatomy of Chronic Pain – PART 1

Are you in pain? Have you been looking for ways to be pain-free? Do you understand your pain?

A profound understanding of chronic pains requires an in-depth deconstruction of the nervous system. The nervous system is very complicated; nerves make it possible for the nervous system to send messages to and from the medulla/brain.

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The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is somewhat like a branch-off of the spinal cord, and the peripheral and central nervous systems can be affected by neuropathic pain.

The type of pain that arises as a result of a malfunction in the nerves is referred to as neuropathic pain. The peripheral nervous system has 31 roots that spread from the spinal cord to various parts of the body.

These nerves make it possible for us to feel and move; those responsible for feelings are the sensory nerves, while those responsible for movement are the motor nerves. The spinal cord has various levels, and each has multiple spinal nerves attached.

The cervical level has eight pairs, the thoracic has 12 pairs, the lumbar has five pairs, the sacral has five pairs, and the coccyx has just a pair. The peripheral nervous system is further broken into two categories, namely the somatic and autonomic nervous systems.

The autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling involuntary actions in the body, making it possible for the heart to function effectively and for us to digest our food without having to think about it.

The somatic nervous system, on the other hand, has nerves that pass to the skin and the musculoskeletal network: bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, etc. These nerves allow us to feel pain.

If any nerve in our body is sprained or damaged, we develop chronic pain; damaged nerves send an unending stream of pain messages to the brain.

Another essential part of our nerves known as a nociceptor. Understanding certain types of chronic pains requires knowledge about these nociceptors, which are located at our nerve endings activated whenever something triggers pain.

If, peradventure, you got your fingers closed in the car door, the nociceptors in your fingers would be and send a message of pain to the spinal cord and brain through the peripheral nerves.

However, seconds before you slammed your fingers, the nociceptors weren’t activated—why? Because there was no stimuli (or injury) to make the nociceptors respond.

Taking this information into account allows the conclusion that one primary cause of chronic pain is malfunctioning nociceptors; even when there are no direct causes for the pain, nociceptors can still send continuous pain messages to the brain.

Let’s consider the example we used earlier; assume the fingers that got slammed by the car doors were healed, but for some strange reason, you’re still feeling a lot of pain. It may be that the nociceptors located in your hand are malfunctioning.

That is, they’re still sending continuous pain messages to the brain, which could bring about chronic pain.


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