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Why does pain occur? The mechanism of pain explained
Pain is an unpleasant and distressing physical sensation caused by disease or injury, which induces hurt and anxiety in those suffering from it.
There are many different manifestations of pain, ranging from short term (acute pain) to long term (chronic pain). Other classifications include pain in the internal organs (visceral pain), injured tissue (inflammatory pain), nerves (neuropathic pain), etc.
The reason for the occurrence of pain depends on the cause and kind of pain being experienced. In most cases, pain acts as a warning sign that the body has been afflicted by a disorder of some sort, which may have arisen due to internal sickness or external wounding. Acute pains are generally cured on their own through rest or simple medication. Chronic pains, on the other hand, are more complicated in nature and the treatment requires more elaborate diagnosis.
The mechanism of pain
Pain is an extremely personal and subjective experience and affects each individual to varying degrees. The pain signals, which can arise in any part of the body, travel through the spinal cord to the brain along thousands of specialized nerves and nerve fibres. In the brain, it is processed in the centres associated with anxiety, emotions, memory, appetite, etc. Signals and pain inputs are then returned from the brain to the spinal cord, which may heighten or diminish pain.
In some cases, pain may also be induced by damage to the brain and spinal cord, which happens after a stroke.
A constant barrage of pain signals may cause the cells at the end of nerve fibres to become over-sensitized. This is known as ‘wind-up’ and is one of the most common causes of chronic pain that occurs even though the root of the problem has been identified and treated.
The causes and effects of pain differ from case to case depending on the signals received by the brain and its interpretation. It affects the individual’s day to day activities and if persistent, can also have a harmful impact on mental health and psychosis. Pain is always handled, diagnosed and treated differently in all patients by drawing out the best possible solution to the problem.
Hello my question is my mother is 52 and she has always worked on so her body is pained. What will I do for her?
I am a 60 years old. I am a tax consultant and I have to sit on chair almost 16 hours daily and work on computer. My leg, knee, ankles. Wrist and palm have started to suffer from pain. What should I do?
Im 34 years old male. I need to reduce my belly. Pls give suggestions for tat. Im having full body pain too.
I am 21 year old male. I suffer a pain in my food pipe almost every time after I take my meal. I have not taken any medication.
I have very high body temperature for over last three days and also I have some body pain and also I have some throat infection and cough through out my chest so what should I do?
Hi. I am having severe body pain since childhood on daily basis. Sometimes it is 1 body part and sometimes it is in other body part. What should I do?
I feel sleepy and lazy whole day and also suffering from body pain, what should I do? Please suggest.
Heat and cold are some of the most common types of non-addictive pain relief therapies for treating muscle and joint pain. Depending on whether the pain is a new one or a recurring one, a medical practitioner will prescribe either heat therapy or cold therapy. A new injury causes inflammation and swelling. Here cold therapy is used as the ice will lower the amount of blood flow to the injured area, thus reducing the inflammation and swelling. Recurring pain can be treated with heat. This is because heat will cause blood to flow towards the injured area and thus promote healing.
Heat Therapy: Heat is used to open up blood vessels, thus increasing blood flow and supplying oxygen and nutrients so as to reduce pain in joints and help relax sore muscles, tendons and ligaments. The warmth of the heat also helps to decrease muscle spasms and can increase the range of motion. By applying superficial heat to your body, you can also improve the flexibility of tendons, reduce muscle spasms and reduce pain.
Most sources of heat either supply dry or moist warmth. Dry heat sources will dry the skin. Moist heat helps to penetrate even better. Heat can be applied by using an electric or microwave heating pad, gel packs or hot water baths. The heat supplied should be warm, not be too hot and should be kept at a consistent temperature. Consult your doctor or physical therapist about the heat source, which would be best for you.
Heat should be applied if one has stiff joints or joint pain. Never apply heat directly to the skin, instead always trap the hot device in a thin towel.
Cold Therapy: Cold slows down or reduces the blood flow to an injured area, thus reducing pain and swelling of the area. Cold therapy slows blood circulation, reducing inflammation. It should be used when the area is swollen or bruised. Cold is generally applied by an ice or gel pack.
Any cold treatment should always be used 24 to 48 hours after an injury. Cold therapy is useful for sprains, bumps and bruises that may occur during sports or lifting. You can apply the cold packs or ice bags to the injured areas for 20 minutes. It is advisable to remove the cold pack for a ten minute interval and then apply it again to the injured area.
While using cold therapy, use the ice pack for not longer than 20 minutes at a stretch. Wrap the ice or ice pack in a thin towel before applying it on the injured area. Do not use ice pack on the left shoulder in case you have a heart condition. Never use ice packs around the front or side of the neck region. Both cold and heat therapy are important and their usage depends on the type of injury and pain. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a physiotherapist.