Why We Feel Pain

Pain is a good thing. Quite simply, it’s a message from your brain telling you that something is wrong. If your brain wasn’t warning you that you’d been injured, you wouldn’t know it and the injury could get worse. Pain tells you to stop what you’re doing immediately because it’s harming you. It’s also about self-preservation in the future and is rooted in our memories. Pain tells us that it hurts to touch a hot pan. We’ll remember that pain an use a potholder next time to avoid getting burned.

More specifically, when you injure yourself, your body stimulates pain receptors that release chemicals that go up the spinal cord and into the brain to the thalamus and then the cerebral cortex. And it all happens in an instant.

The central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord which along with the sensor and motor nerves that stretch through the rest of your body making the entire nervous system. Sensory nerves send messages through to the brain via the spinal cord. While an area of the spinal cord called the dorsal horn causes reflex actions to deal with the pain such as pulling your hand quickly from the knife that cut your finger while you were chopping onions, the message is still sent to the brain for interpretation.

Types of Pain

Acute Pain. This is short-term pain and is somatic (superficial pain on the skin or just below), visceral (originates in the organs) or referred pain (pain that occurs in a place other than where the injury is located).

Chronic pain. This is long-term pain that usually requires a long-term therapy plan. Patients who suffer from chronic pain may actually have their brains altered by the constant pain to be more sensitive to pain and feel it much more intensely than most people.

The way the brain processes pain and makes a decision on how to handle it is truly amazing. Take your ancestor Ugg the Caveman. Ugg is on a hunting trip when out of nowhere, he’s attacked by a sabertooth tiger. The sabertooth gets a large painful bite in on Ugg’s arm, but Ugg’s brain realizes that it’s more important for Ugg to get out of Dodge instead of dealing with an injured arm so it doesn’t send out pain signals until Ugg is too far away from the dangerous animal. There are ample stories about this phenomenon from people who’ve had a leg bitten off by a shark but realize it until they had safely swum to shore or who have been shot but didn’t know it until they’d driven to safety. You have a tiny processor in your brain that decides the best way to keep you safe and deal with the injury.

Chronic pain can be debilitating and excruciating which is why so many people turn to pain killers to manage the pain. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Depending on your condition, chiropractic care can relieve pain by realigning the spine and nerves to their proper working order, relieving the pain.

Whether you have back or neck pain, pinched nerves, headaches, or you’re suffering from injuries obtained in an auto accident, North County Pain Relief can help. Besides offering traditional chiropractic adjustments, we all offer treatment options such as electric muscle stimulation, moist heat therapy, intersegmental traction, and more, all in a relaxed and comforting environment. Call (314)731-4201 and make an appointment to see Dr. Elsey today.