Chronic Pain (cont.)
In this Article
- Introduction to chronic pain
- The A to Z of pain
- How is pain diagnosed?
- How is pain treated?
- Pain management
- What is the role of age and gender in pain?
- A pain primer: what do we know about pain?
- What is the future of pain research?
- Spine basics: the vertebrae, discs and spinal cord
- The nervous system
- Phantom pain: how does the brain feel?
- Chili peppers, capsaicin and pain
- Marijuana for pain treatment
- Nerve blocks for pain treatment
- Where can I get more information about pain?
- Find a local Pain Management Physician in your town
The nervous systems
The central nervous system (CNS) refers to the brain and spinal cord together. The peripheral nervous system refers to the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral nerve trunks leading away from the spine to the limbs. Messages related to function (such as movement) or dysfunction (such as pain) travel from the brain to the spinal cord and from there to other regions in the body and back to the brain again. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary functions in the body, like perspiration, blood pressure, heart rate, or heart beat. It is divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems have links to important organs and systems in the body; for example, the sympathetic nervous system controls the heart, blood vessels, and respiratory system, while the parasympathetic nervous system controls our ability to sleep, eat, and digest food.
The peripheral nervous system also includes 12 pairs of cranial nerves located on the underside of the brain. Most relay messages of a sensory nature. They include the olfactory (I), optic (II), oculomotor (III), trochlear (IV), trigeminal (V), abducens (VI), facial (VII), vestibulocochlear (VIII), glossopharyngeal (IX), vagus (X), accessory (XI), and hypoglossal (XII) nerves. Neuralgia, as in trigeminal neuralgia, is a term that refers to pain that arises from abnormal activity of a nerve trunk or its branches. The type and severity of pain associated with neuralgia vary widely.
Viewers share their comments
- Submit »
- Submit »
Find out what women really need.