What are the Causes of Chronic Pain?
Why do we have pain?
The cause of Chronic pain, or pain that won't go away even when an injury has healed in not fully understood. The brain and it's neurotransmitters are largely responsible for our experience of pain and it is believed that the pathways that facilitate and modulate pain have gone awry.
Your perception or processing of pain by the nervous system is called Nociception. There can be many causes of pain, from injury, to chemical substances or hot or cold stimuli that can irritate our nerve endings called Nociceptors. Nociceptors are found in every tissue in the body except for the brain (your brain tissue actually can’t feel pain). These nerve fibers activate when we experience a painful event (stubbing your toe) and send pain signals up the spinal cord to the brain. All processing of pain occurs within the brain through nerve receptors and neurotransmitter which then send signals back down to the injured area resulting in the sensation of pain.
Having an abnormally high level of pain response to a mild stimulus (i.e. bumping your arm against the table) is called Hyperalgesia and pain caused by a non-painful stimuli (i.e. a feather touching your arm) is called Allodynia. Referred pain can also occur when pain from an internal organ produces the perception of pain on another area of the body other than the organ itself.
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