Many individuals in the United States suffer from chronic pain without understanding the source of their painful symptoms or why these have triggered from the start. A healthcare professional can help a patient understand their chronic pain but it’s important for the person to first comprehend the function of their own body.
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Why does chronic pain occur?
To understand chronic pain, you need to comprehend the anatomy of the nervous system. Throughout the body, the nervous system transmits messages to and from the brain, and it’s a system is very complex and intricate.
The central nervous system primarily consists of the the spinal cord and the brain. Branching off the spinal cord is the peripheral nervous system; both the central or peripheral nervous systems can be impacted by neuropathic pain, a kind of chronic pain which is commonly caused by a malfunction of the nerves.
Anatomy of Chronic Pain
The peripheral nervous system has 31 pairs of nerve roots which stretch from the spinal cord to the various areas of the body. These nerves help you feel (those are the sensory nerves) and move (those are the motor nerves). Following is a graph that shows you just how many pairs of spinal nerves are at each level of the spine.
|SPINAL CORD||31 Pairs – Spinal Nerves|
The peripheral nervous system is further divided into:
- The somatic nervous system, which has nerves that go into the musculoskeletal system (bones, ligaments, joints, tendons) along with the epidermis. It is what helps you feel pain.
- The autonomic nervous system, which operates on the “involuntary” functions of the body. That means that it makes sure that your heart keeps pumping and your food is digested by you without even thinking of it.
Nociceptors are yet another important part of your nerves, and you want to understand them if you would like to know certain forms of chronic pain. Nociceptors are receptors at nerve endings, that function when something occurs that causes pain and they’re triggered. If you slam your finger in the car door, the nociceptors on your finger will turn on and send a pain message through the nerve to the spinal cord and forth into the brain. Two minutes until you slammed your finger, however, the nociceptor was not active because there was no stimulus (or harm) to make it react.
It is believed that a single cause of chronic pain may be due to malfunctioning nociceptors. They may be constantly sending pain messages even if there is no direct cause. Continuing the above example, state that your finger is treated after you slammed it but you still continue to feel discomfort. The nociceptors in the nerves of your finger might be malfunctioning within this case. This could result in chronic pain symptoms.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain, long-term, persistent pain, is a very subjective experience, however, we can’t mention something as categorical as, “all chronic pain patients will experience chronic pain this way.” Instead, it’s more likely to say that chronic pain can take on many forms and may manifest into a variety of symptoms. Such may include:
- feeling stiff
- feeling tight
- feeling sore
Chronic pain may result in other issues, especially social and emotional ones. Pain may:
- Result in sleeplessness,
- Drain you of energy,
- Lead to depression,
- Make you not want to do activities you typically like,
- Weaken your immune system because a lot of your body’s energy is spent dealing with all the pain.
Lots of these other issues build off each other, which means you might hear the term “vicious cycle” when speaking about chronic pain. For instance: The pain makes it hard to sleep through the night, and that means you’re excessively tired the following day. You don’t want to go to work since you’re so tired, or do anything else. Your self-esteem begins to draw out even more, as you are not too active, in the end even withdrawing from social events.
To acquire the very best remedy for chronic pain, you must take inventory of just how much it is affecting your life–outside the physical pain. You can’t simply take care of the chronic pain on your own. Seek for a solution along with the help of medical professionals and your physician can assist you to live your own life coping with chronic pain.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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