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Reasons for Pain
- We generally say pain is due to an injury or health problem, but that is only the superficial cause. The real cause is based on a complex set of interactions within our body involving our brain, the nervous system, and other functions
- Regardless of whether you’re suffering from back pain, headaches, or other types of pain, understanding the way pain is determined can help give you a better perspective of what’s happening in your body.
Physical pain has been experienced by all people in some place, at some time. While some of these experiences are from injury or illness, others do not have a cause we can immediately identify. Understanding acute or chronic pain can help improve our choices of how to manage that pain.
The Physical Cause of Pain
We generally say pain is due to an injury or health problem, but that is only the superficial cause. The real cause is based on a complex set of interactions within our body involving our brain, the nervous system, and other functions. So how do our bodies sense pain?
Most of us think of the nervous system as consisting of only our brain and spine, but the system is quite a bit more complex. In fact, the receptors of the nervous system are placed throughout our entire body, and these are connected so that their signals can be transmitted back to the brain where they are then processed. The fibers of our nervous system receive information from the cells, then send messages to the brain and to the muscles of our body. There is a constant highway of messages running throughout the body at all times.
For example, imagine you hit your leg on a table. Although the pain seems to come immediately, that’s only because you mentally anticipate that the injury will result in the feeling of pain. The real sensation of physical pain comes a bit later, but it seems immediate. What happens in your body, after the incident, is that the cells or tissues of the injured area will immediately release chemicals that heighten the sensitivity of the nerve endings affected. After the nerve endings have been stimulated, they will begin sending impulses through the fibers in your body, reaching your spine and moving up your spinal cord into your brain at alarming speed. The brain then determines that the impulses should be translated as reactions thus causing you to feel the pain. So, the brain has to tell the body how to respond to the painful injury. It sends out dozens of messages to the muscles in your body which spawn reactions such as rubbing the area and maybe even reacting with a desire to verbally cry out.
Common Pain Types
There are other types of pain that are common, but which have harder direct causes to identify. The two most commonly cited causes of pain are back aches and headaches. This may be due to the back being a larger area and involving many muscles that the body uses all the time. Headaches are often related to more than one factor as the brain is involved in every facet of every move and thought your body makes.
Back pain can actually initially generate from any number of problems that can send nerve cells into high gear. One of the most common of these problems is back strain. This can happen when you impart some type of physical action that is too strenous on those back muscles and ligaments. The stress can also involve the discs in your spine. Normally, discs help act as cushions between the vertebrae in your spine, but if they move out of place or rupture, they can attribute to a serious amount of pain. This pain can be magnified if the disc ends up pressing down on a nerve. Back pain can involve over use of the muscles through lifting, exercise or just moving in the wrong way. Arthritis can also be a common cause of pain, especially in people who are older or who have had numerous back injuries, which allow for the inflammation of the joints to occur. Inflammation sends signals to the brain to be processed, just as if an actual injury had taken place.
Second to back pain are headaches. The most common type of headache is tension induced. While science is unsure of the specific causes of these headaches, the belief is that the source of the pain involves the muscles which cover the skull. When these tense up or spasm, the result is a stream of electrical messages through those nerve cells which alert the brain that pain is being registered in the head region. Headaches may be generated by environmental factors, extreme temperature changes, and even your sensory intake which play a large role in how your nervous system reacts and ultimately sends your brain the message which gets interpreted into pain or discomfort.
Regardless of whether you’re suffering from back pain, headaches, or other types of pain, understanding the way pain is determined can help give you a better perspective of what’s happening in your body.Click here to discuss this article on forum.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Pain Problems18 Oct 2008|