Pain is an Electrical Signal Interpreted by the Brain Nerves Bring the Pain Electrical Signal to the Brain
The nerves that bring the pain electrical signal to the brain begin in the various tissues of the body. At the very beginning of the nerve there is a specialized ending call a receptor. The receptor is unique in its ability to initiate the pain electrical signal and send it along the pain nerves (nociceptors) to the brain. The brain interprets the pain electrical signal for a number of parameters:
- Location: the region of the body where the pain receptors begin the pain electrical signal to the brain (head, neck, back, finger, toe, etc.).
- Character: whether the pain signal is sharp, dull, aching, burning, stabbing, etc.
The most common cause for the initiation of the pain electrical signal is an inflammatory reaction in the tissues where the pain nerve receptors reside.
“The Origin of all Pain is Inflammation and the Inflammatory Response”
It is because of this inflammation-pain response that so much pain is treated with anti-inflammatory approaches:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Omega-3 fatty acids that are found primarily in fish oil
- Low-level laser therapy
- Controlled Motion: disperses the accumulation of inflammatory exudates: chiropractic adjusting, massage, passive motions, active motions, etc.
Steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are associated with many side effects, some serious, and some fatal, especially if consumed chronically, including:
- Gastrointestinal bleeding, including fatal bleeding
- End stage renal disease (ESRD)
- Liver damage (hepatotoxicity)
- Heart attacks/strokes
- Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease
- Hearing loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Atrial fibrillations
Chiropractic spinal adjusting reduces pain by using mechanisms that function in addition to the ability to help disperse the accumulation of inflammatory exudates.
Whatever Tissue is Causing Spinal Pain, it Must Have a Nerve Supply
It has been understood for decades that the articular hyaline cartilage has no nerve supply, and consequently is not capable of initiating the pain electrical signal. This holds true, even when the cartilage is injured. Sadly, injured articular hyaline cartilage degenerates at an accelerated rate (7, 8, 9, 10), creating arthritic changes that often irritate and inflame adjacent tissues, eventually generating the pain electrical signal to the brain. This is the explanation as to why some spinal injuries are initially asymptomatic, but become painful as a function of time as the degenerative process progresses.
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