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All about pain

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    All about pain

    All about pain
    Thursday December 21 2006 18:31 IST Pain is a universal experience. We all feel it, whether it’s the sharp, stabbing pain of a twisted ankle or the deep, throbbing pain of a headache that won’t quit. Pain knows no age limit - it affects us from infancy through old age.

    Sensitivity to pain is complex and varies from person to person. An experience that for one person causes immediate, excruciating pain may for another result in only minor discomfort. And this varied sensitivity can sometimes make pain hard to describe.

    The degree to which you feel pain and how you react to it are the results of your biological, psychological and cultural makeup. And your past encounters with painful injury or illness also can have an influence on your sensitivity to pain.

    There are times when pain can be useful almost protective- such as when it warns you that the hot skillet you’ve just picked up will burn your hand if you don’t put it down quickly.

    But other pain - the day-after-day chronic ache of arthritis or the constant throbbing of a headache - seems to serve no useful purpose. And its relentlessness can be overwhelming.

    When pain persists beyond the time expected for an injury to heal or an illness to end, it can become a chronic condition. No longer is the pain viewed as just the symptom of another disease, but as an illness unto itself.

    This type of pain is commonly referred to as chronic pain or chronic non cancer pain in order to distinguish it from cancer (malignant) pain. It may also be sign by the American pain society, and doctors are urged to assess their patients for pain every time they check them for pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and respiration.

    How you feel pain

    Understanding how your body feels pain can help you appreciate how you experience pain. It can also help you appreciate how you experience pain. It can also help better understand why chronic pain is often difficult to treat.

    Pain basically results from a series of electrical and chemical exchanges involving three major components: your peripheral nerves, spinal cord and brain.

    Your peripheral nerves

    Your peripheral (pe-RIF-er-ul) nerves encompass a network of nerve fibers that branches throughout your body. Attached to some of these fibers are special nerve endings that can sense an unpleasant stimulus, such as cut, burn or painful pressure. These nerve endings are called nociceptors (no-sih-SEPturs).

    You have millions of nociceptors in your skin, bones, joints and muscles and in the protective membrane around your internal organs. Nociceptors are concentrated in areas more prone to injury, such as your fingers and toes. That’s why a splinter in your finger hurts more than one in your back or shoulder. There may be as many as 1,300 nociceptors in just 1 square inch of skin.

    Thank you for the education. Scott.