The definition of pain by the International Association for the study of Pain is that it is "An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage."
The neurophysiology of pain involves impulses from the periphery to the brain cortex, modulated by many physiochemical mechanisms in the central nervous system.
While the full complexities of the pain process sum up to several books, an understanding of the terminology and basic neurophysiology involved is helpful in treating this common denominator to human kind.
Pain can be classified as:
Physiologic: Referring to the body’s protective mechanism to avoid tissue injury: for instance, when we light a match and the flame begins to get close to our skin, the pain sensation gives us the message we are about to injure a tissue if we do not respond quickly.
Pathologic: Arising from tissue injury and inflammation or damage to a portion of the nervous system. Pathologic pain can be further divided into categories such as nociceptive (peripheral tissue injury), neuropathic (damage to peripheral nerves or spinal cord), visceral (stimulation of pain receptors in the thoracic or abdominal viscera), and somatic (injury to tissues other than viscera, such as bones, joints, muscles and skin). It can also be defined temporally as acute (arising from a sudden stimulus such as surgery or trauma) or chronic (persisting beyond the time normally associated with tissue injury).
Having understood the physiological aspect of pain, we can talk now about the emotional aspect of pain, which was not given too much consideration until about 30 years ago. The emotional
affects of pain can be similarly devastating and include depression, anger and anxiety, which arise from having limitations set to one's life and not knowing when is going to stop, from having a myriad of chemicals running through your body affecting literally every aspect of your life.
As the famous neurologist Dr. Barry Wyke pointed out, measuring pain thresholds tells something about the mechanism that influences the intensity of the patient's experience of pain, however he emphasized the practitioner should not assess the patient's threshold but the patient's tolerance for pain. Furthermore he explained what brings patients to Doctors to seek relief is not the occurrence of "some minor pain which they are just aware when their threshold is reached" as we all have pretty much every day of our lives, but it is when the limit of their pain tolerance is reached.
The perception of pain is circumstantial and can be influenced by the person's state of mind, current mood, surroundings, relationships, weather, diet changes, among others.
At our Clinic we take into consideration all the variables surrounding your case and draw a treatment plan specifically to suit your needs. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine work as an effective alternative and adjunct treatment modality. It is a safe, effective, and natural approach to help regain and maintain your health and well being.
Contact us for a complimentary consultation; let us help you regain control of your life.