It´s a complex and mysterious thing. I always thought that pain came from an injury or damage caused by misaligned joints, weak and tight muscles, ruptured disks, bad posture and so on. But recent studies have shown that to be false. Pain is produced 100% of the time in the brain and depending on the situation, your well being, your emotions and a thousand other things, that pain is going to be more intense or less intense. In some situations you may have an injury and not even feel the pain.!!….surprised? So am I, so let´s try to explain it.
Pain before was often thought of as a reflex mechanism, meaning that when you got hurt, pain receptors would send signals to the brain and we would sense that pain. But it doesn´t really work that way. What we have are called ¨nociceptors¨, and these nociceptors are similar to other receptors that sense pressure and temperature. The only difference being, that you need a bigger stimulus to activate these ¨nociceptors¨.
So when these nociceptors are activated they send warning signals to your brain and it´s up to your brain to decide whether it is a real danger or not. So you will not feel pain unless and until the brain believes that there is a threat to the body.
Pain can be divided into 2 different types of pain:
- Acute pain is the one you experience after a broken bone, a cut, a surgery, a burn, and such pain usually goes away when the underlying injury has been treated or healed. It might last for a few seconds, hours, weeks or, at the most, 3-6 months, which is the time it takes to heal and remodel connective tissue.
- But in a few people, even after the tissues had enough time to heal, pain persists for years, this is called chronic pain.
This could be a little complicated, so let´s stop here, analyze the information and take a look at a couple of videos that I think will help you understand the concept of pain better.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwd-wLdIHjs The second video is about Lorimer Losley. He is the author of ¨Explaining Pain¨, a great book I recommend.
I will stop here for today and continue next time with the second part of pain, where I will talk about how to treat pain. Hope I made you think.
- How Hollywood Understands Pain Better Than Your Doctor (bloodandiron315.com)
- Physiological responses to injury (sportscienceinjuries.wordpress.com)
- Pain helps us to survive – but it can also turn our own body into an enemy (newstatesman.com)
- Mouse feels no pain as it devours stinging scorpion – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)