What is Pain?
Pain is the built-in alarm that informs you something is wrong!
Pain is your body’s way of sending a warning to your brain. Your spinal cord and peripheral nerves provide an electrical pathway. Nerve messages travel between your brain and the other parts of your body. Pain travels along these nerve pathways as electrical signals to your brain for interpretation.
Receptor nerve cells in and beneath your skin sense heat, cold, light, touch, pressure, and pain. You have thousands of these receptor cells. Most cells sense pain. Tiny cells send messages along nerves and the spinal cord to your brain when there is an injury to your body,
In general, pain receptors are classified according to their location.
Receptors that respond to injury or noxious stimuli are termed nociceptors and are sensitive to thermal (heat), electrical, mechanical, chemical and painful stimuli. Each nociceptor is connected to a nerve that transmits an electrical impulse along its length towards the spinal cord and then, ultimately, your brain.
It is your brain that informs you whether or not you are experiencing pain. Plus, your pain can plays tricks – especially when you suffer chronic pain.
Pain messages travel slower than other nerve stimulation.
Nerves can also be categorised according to their diameter (width) and whether a myelin sheath is present.
Three types of nerves are concerned with the transmission of pain:
A-beta fibres, which have a large diameter and are myelinated
A-delta fibres, which has a small diameter and also have myelinated sheaths.
C fibres have small diameters, are non-myelinated (slowing their conduction rate), and are generally involved in transmitting dull, aching sensations.
Nerves with large diameters conduct impulses faster than those with a small diameter. The presence of a myelin sheath also speeds up the nerve conduction rate.
One method of easing your pain is to provide your nervous system with high speed “good feelings”, such as rubbing your injured area. This is the same principle that a tens machine (pain-relieving machine) utilises to provide pain relief.