Pain and inflammation

pain2 pain
 
Pain is an unpleasant sensation and emotional experience linked to tissue damage. Its purpose is to allow the body to react and prevent further tissue damage.
 

Fast facts on pain:

Here are some key points about pain. More detail is in the main article.

  • Pain results from tissue damage.
  • It is a part of the body's defense mechanism. It warns us to take action to prevent further tissue damage.
  • People experience and describe pain differently, and this makes it hard to diagnose.
  • A range of medications and other treatments can help relieve pain, depending on the cause.

Causes

Pain is felt when special nerves that detect tissue damage send signals to transmit information about the damage along the spinal cord to the brain. These nerves are known as nociceptors.

The brain then decides what to do about the pain.

For example, if you touch a hot surface, a message will travel through a reflex arc in the spinal cord and cause an immediate contraction of the muscles. This contraction will pull your hand away from the hot surface.

This happens so fast that the message doesn't even reach the brain. However, the pain message will continue to the brain. Once there, it will cause an unpleasant sensation of pain to be felt.

How an individual's brain interprets these signals and the efficiency of the communication channel between the nociceptors and the brain dictate how people feel pain.

The brain may also release feel-good chemicals such as dopamine to counter the unpleasant effects of the pain.

Pain can be acute or chronic.

Acute pain is generally intense and short-lived. It is the body's way of alerting a person to an injury or localized tissue damage. Treating the underlying injury normally resolves this type of pain.

The body's "fight-or-flight" mechanism is triggered by acute pain, often resulting in faster heartbeats and breathing rates.

There are different types of acute pain:

  • Somatic pain is superficial pain that is felt on the skin or soft tissues just below the skin.
  • Visceral pain originates in the internal organs and the linings of cavities in the body.
  • Referred pain is felt at a location different to the source of tissue damage, such the shoulder pain felt during a heart attack.

Chronic pain lasts far longer than acute pain. It often cannot be resolved. It can be mild or severe, it can be continuous, as in arthritis, or it can be intermittent, as in migraines. Intermittent pain occurs on repeated occasions but stops in between.

The "fight-or-flight" reactions eventually stop in cases of chronic pain, as the sympathetic nervous system that triggers these reactions adapts to the pain stimulus.

If enough cases of acute pain occur, they can create a buildup of electrical signals in the central nervous system (CNS) that can overstimulate the nerve fibers.

This is known as "windup," a term that compares the accumulation of these electrical signals to a windup toy. Winding a toy with more intensity leads the toy to run faster for longer. Chronic pain works in the same way. This is why pain may be felt long after the pain-causing event.

Describing pain

There are other, more specialized ways of describing pain.

These include:

Neuropathic pain: This follows injury to the peripheral nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. It can take the form of electric shock-like pain, tenderness, numbness, tingling, and discomfort.

Phantom pain: occurs after the amputation of a limb and refers to painful sensations given out by the missing limb. It affects some 70 percent of amputees.

Central pain: is often caused by infarction, abscess, tumors, degeneration, or hemorrhage in the brain and spinal cord. Central pain is ongoing and can range from mild to extremely painful. Patients report burning, aching, and pressing sensations.

Knowing how to describe pain can help a person get a more specific diagnosis.

Herbal remedies that help with pain and inflammation
 
Wild celery plant Ctas claw plant
Astragalus root
$16.00
60 capsules
two a day
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Celery seeds
$11.00
30 capsules
one a day
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Cat's claw
$11.00
30 capsules
one a day
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Horse chestnut Milk thistle White willow tree
Horse chestnut
$11.00
30 capsules
one a day
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Milk thistle
seeds
$11.00
30 capsules
one a day
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White
willow bark
$21.00
90 capsules
three a day
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Ceylon cinnamon Bladderwrack Stinging nettle plant
Ceylon cinnamon
$21.00
90 capsules
three a day
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Bladderwrack
$11.00
30 capsules
one a day
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Stinging nettle root
$21.00
90 capsules
three a day
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America Skullcap    
     
American Skullcap
$31.00
90 capsules
three a day
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*Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera)
*Astragalus
(Astragalus membranaceus)
*Brahmi
(Bacopa monnieri)
*Burdock
(Arctium lappa)
*Black Cohosh
(Cimicifuga racemosa)
*Bladderwrack
(Focus vesiculosus)
*Celery seeds
(Apium graviolens)
*Chanca piedra
(Phyllanthus niruri)
*Ceylon cinnamon
(Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
*Cat's claw
(Uncaria tomentosa)
*Dandelion root
(Taraxacum officinale)
*Fenugreek
(Trigonella foenum graecum)
*Ginkgo biloba
(Ginkgo biloba)
*Horse chestnut
(Aesculus hippocastanum)
*Hawthorn berry
(Crateagus oxicanthus)
*Horny goat weed
(Epimedium sagittatum)
*Juniper berry
(Juniperus communis)
*Milk thistle
(Sylibum marianum)
*Maca
(Lepidium meyenii)
*Red clover
(Trifolium pratense)
*American Skullcap
(Scutellaria lateriflora)
*Saw palmetto
(Serenoa repens/serrulata)
*Stinging nettle
(Urtica dioica)
*St John's wort
(Hypericum perforatum)
*Sarsaparrilla
(Smilax aristolochiifolia)
*Schizandra berry
(Schisandra chinensis)
*Vitex
(Agnus castus)
*Valerian root
(Valeriana officinalis)
*White willow
(Salix alba)
*Yarrow
(Achillea millefolium)
*Lion's mane
(Hericium erinaceous
)
*Shiitake
(Lentinula edodes
)