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Can The Brain Feel Pain

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Pain Management | What happens in the brain when I feel pain?

Although pain is considered to be aversive and unpleasant and is therefore usually avoided, a meta-analysis which summarized and evaluated numerous studies from various psychological disciplines, found a reduction in negative affect. Across studies, participants that were subjected to acute physical pain in the laboratory subsequently reported feeling better than those in non-painful control conditions, a finding which was also reflected in physiological parameters. A potential mechanism to explain this effect is provided by the opponent-process theory.

How Does The Brain Work

The brain sends and receives chemical and electrical signals throughout the body. Different signals control different processes, and your brain interprets each. Some make you feel tired, for example, while others make you feel pain.

Some messages are kept within the brain, while others are relayed through the spine and across the bodys vast network of nerves to distant extremities. To do this, the central nervous system relies on billions of neurons .

What The Nervous System Does

Your nervous system is made up of two main parts: the brain and the spinal cord, which combine to form the central nervous system and the sensory and motor nerves, which form the peripheral nervous system. The names make it easy to picture: the brain and spinal cord are the hubs, while the sensory and motor nerves stretch out to provide access to all areas of the body.

Put simply, sensory nerves send impulses about what is happening in our environment to the brain via the spinal cord. The brain sends information back to the motor nerves, which help us perform actions. Its like having a very complicated inbox and outbox for everything.

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Treatments To Retrain Your Brain

So how can we teach our brain to stop producing pain messages and break the pain cycle? Most of us will need help and guidance to start our recovery journey. Thankfully, there are scientifically proven treatments available which can help you.

The steps you take to retrain your brain will vary depending on the therapy you receive and the methods used, but all fundamentally have the same theories and goals. You will first learn about pain neuroscience. Once you have that basis of education to work from, you will be guided through tackling negative pain perceptions and pain creating behaviours, and replacing them with positive coping strategies.

You will gradually teach your brain that specific movements and activities do not require pain messages to be sent out, and that there is no threat present. As your brain learns this, it will rewire itself so that you can start feeling relief from your symptoms. Lets take a look at some of the treatments which can help you to retrain your brain.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT is a psychological therapy which focuses on changing negative thoughts and behaviour patterns which may be perpetuating the chronic pain cycle. CBT teaches you to replace these negative patterns with positive thoughts and perceptions about pain, and aids you in implementing positive coping behaviors. This means that through CBT, you can actively tackle the pain creating behaviours we mentioned earlier.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Graded Motor Imagery

What Is The Gray Matter And White Matter

Can the Brain Itself Feel Pain? ... No There are no pain ...

Gray and white matter are two different regions of the central nervous system. In the brain, gray matter refers to the darker, outer portion, while white matter describes the lighter, inner section underneath. In the spinal cord, this order is reversed: The white matter is on the outside, and the gray matter sits within.

Gray matter is primarily composed of neuron somas , and white matter is mostly made of axons wrapped in myelin . The different composition of neuron parts is why the two appear as separate shades on certain scans.

Each region serves a different role. Gray matter is primarily responsible for processing and interpreting information, while white matter transmits that information to other parts of the nervous system.

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Todays Abortions Are Just As Violent

Saline abortions fell out of use in the 1990s because of the risk to mothers and the frequency of babies being born alive. At the time of Roe v. Wade, saline abortion was the most commonly used form of abortion after 16 weeks. But ahough the methods have changed, they are no less violent.

Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino confirms this as he describes 1st trimester dilation and curettage abortions and 2nd trimester dilation and evacuation abortionstwo common abortion procedures that tear babies limb from limb, finally crushing the skull so that it will fit through the cervix. According to Levatino: You know you did it right if you crush down on the instrument and white material runs out of the cervix. That was the babys brains.

Dr. Levatino also describes babies being deprived of shelter and nutrients inside the womb by abortion pills and being poisoned with a digoxin injection piercing the babys head or chest. This causes the babys death by cardiac arrest.

In Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court provides a gruesome description of a D& E abortion: The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: it bleeds to death as it is torn apart limb by limb.

The ugliness of abortion is not a foreign concept to anyone involved in it.

These inhumane death procedures would not be acceptable for any animal, yet they are used regularly to kill the most innocent and fragile human beings.

A fetus at 6 months

Is Pain In Dreams Real

Dreamed pain differs from “real” pain in that its source is the dreams content rather than a real-life stimulus. For example, someone might be dreaming of being tortured in a way theyve never been in real life. The dreamt trauma, however, still registers as pain in the moment, likely inspired by learned perceptions of painful situations. Dreamt pain usually goes away as soon as the dreamer wakes up.

I would argue that even actual pain is kind of all in your head, said Erin Wamsley, an assistant professor of psychology at Furman University in South Carolina, to Vice. Pain is, in a way, a mental experience. Thats to say that when we suffer an injury, the pain is processed in our brains rather than in the affected body part.

Pain in the brain presents as activation in the pain-related areas of your cerebral cortex, triggered by information from pain receptors in your peripheral nervous system. When dreamt pain occurs in dreams, your brain probably isn’t receiving pain messages from parts of your body, but instead drawing from memories of pain from your past.

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Pain Can Change Your Thinking

Often, we have thoughts that were not fully aware of called automatic thoughts. They can influence our emotions and the things we do, even if we dont realize it. Pain by itself or with depression, anxiety, or PTSD can make people have more negative automatic thoughts. These thoughts can make their pain worse. A therapist who practices cognitive behavioral therapy can help change these thinking patterns.

Blood Supply To The Brain

How does your brain respond to pain? – Karen D. Davis

Two sets of blood vessels supply blood and oxygen to the brain: the vertebral arteries and the carotid arteries.

The external carotid arteries extend up the sides of your neck, and are where you can feel your pulse when you touch the area with your fingertips. The internal carotid arteries branch into the skull and circulate blood to the front part of the brain.

The vertebral arteries follow the spinal column into the skull, where they join together at the brainstem and form the basilar artery, which supplies blood to the rear portions of the brain.

The circle of Willis, a loop of blood vessels near the bottom of the brain that connects major arteries, circulates blood from the front of the brain to the back and helps the arterial systems communicate with one another.

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Do Brain Tumours Cause Headaches

Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of a brain tumour, but they are also common in healthy people, and can be due to many everyday causes.

The headaches are not caused directly by the tumour itself, as the brain has no pain receptors, but by a build-up of pressure on pain-sensitive blood vessels and nerves within the brain.

The build-up of pressure can be due to the tumour pressing on these vessels/nerves or by the tumour blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain.

Headaches are rarely the only symptom of a brain tumour.

Doctors do NOT generally worry if your headache is:

  • occasional
  • mild
  • doesn’t last long
  • has an identifiable cause, such as a hangover, lack of sleep, flu-like illness, sinus infection or if you have been ‘fasting’ or overusing medication.

However, people often worry whether their headache is due to something more serious, such as a brain tumour, particularly if they have frequent or severe headaches causing a lot of pain.

If you’re worried, you should speak to your doctor, who can undertake a neurological examination. This involves testing your vision, hearing, balance, reflexes, arm and leg strength, and coordination. If this examination does not show anything outside the normal range and you have no other symptoms, you are unlikely to have a brain tumour.

Actions to take

Emotional And Psychophysiological Reactions To Pain

The aversive nature of pain elicits a powerful emotional reaction that feeds back to modulate pain perception. Pain often results in feelings of anger, sadness, and fear depending on the how the pain is cognitively appraised. For instance, the belief Its not fair that I have to live with this pain is likely to lead to anger, whereas the belief My life is hopeless now that I have this pain will likely result in sadness. Fear is a common reaction to pain when individuals interpret the sensations from the body as indicating the presence of serious threat.

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Rural Doctor Launches Startup To Ease Pain Of Dying Patients

So the researchers monitored the brain waves of a dozen people who were asked to pay attention only to their hand or only to their foot. During the experiment the scientists delivered a light tap to each person’s finger or toe.

When participants focused on their feet, low-frequency rhythms increased in the brain area that responds to hand sensations because participants were asking their brains to ignore sensory input from the hand, and it’s these low-frequency rhythms that do the blocking of such information. That was expected.

But low-frequency rhythms also increased in a different brain area the region that ignores distractions, the team discovered. They reported their findings in the current issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The two areas became synchronized, Jones says. “There’s coordination between the front part of the brain, which is the executive control region of the brain, and the sensory part of the brain, which is filtering information from the environment,” she says.

That suggests that at least some people can teach their brains how to filter out things like chronic pain, perhaps through meditation, Jones says.

A 2011 study supports this idea. It found that people who practiced mindfulness meditation for eight weeks greatly improved their control of the brain rhythms that block out pain.

One That Casts A Spell

Can your brain control how much pain you feel?

This Voodoo House by Laura Denison is a rich beauty. Instead of scary, it is just charming. For more of her creations you can check out her at G 45 Papers on Typepad. The layering and texture of color and patterns are a feast for the eyes. The little lamps and chandeliers are adorable. Wait! Is that a skull on the floor?!

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Can The Brain Feel Pain

As we said before, even though the brain is the organ that sends pain sensations to the rest of the body, the reality is that the brain itself cannot feel pain. But there are nuances here. Even though the brain is unable to feel this sensation, the areas around it can feel it. These areas include the meninges, nerve tissues, and blood vessels.

Thus, when any of these areas suffer a type of trauma or pressure, we feel headaches, although, we repeat, it isnt the brain that feels all this, although it can capture it. How? By receiving signals from receptors located in different parts of the body. These signals travel through the spinal cord and end in the brain .

The thalamus is the brain structure located in the center of the brain, above the hypothalamus. It is responsible, among other things, for directing the sensation of pain to other parts of the brain so that they translate them into the correct reaction, for example: fever, cold, pain, etc.

What Affects Your Experience Of Pain

Severe pain quickly gets your attention and usually produces a stronger physical response than mild pain. The location of your pain can also affect how you perceive it. For example, pain coming from the head is harder to ignore than pain originating elsewhere in the body.

The location of pain in your body does not always indicate where it is coming from. For example, the pain from a heart attack can be felt in the neck, jaws, arms or abdomen. This is known as referred pain and occurs because signals from different parts of the body often converge on the same neurones in the spinal cord.

The gate control theory helps explain how the brain influences your experience of pain. It seems that several factors can affect how you interpret pain:

  • emotional and psychological state

Hence the experience of pain differs from person to person.

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The Damaging Effects Of Chronic Pain On The Brain

For those who develop chronic pain, the experience is life changing to say the least. Suffering from unrelenting pain every hour of the day is draining and will often cause drastic reductions in quality of life. Among those afflicted with such sustained suffering, the effects of the pain frequently intrude into many aspects of daily living. That said, for the most part, these effects of chronic pain are something of which most people are aware.

Where general awareness is far less, however, is with respect to the effects of chronic pain on the body. In particular, chronic pain changes the way that the brain works. This means that untreated or under treated chronic pain exposes patients to more than just levels of discomfort.

Poorly treated long term pain leads to a form of brain injury in patients. This suggests that physicians have a greater responsibility in taking steps to reduce the pain that their patients experience.

Throughout evolution, pain has served an important role in self-preservation. A feeling of pain tells us when we have been hurt so that we can ideally change the activities in which are we are involved. But, when pain becomes chronic, such as in the case of , it no longer serves its primitive role in prompting a fight or flight response. Indeed, in modern society, where most individuals are distanced from threats of physical injury, chronic pain is a significant contributor to unnecessary suffering.

Who Suffers From Chronic Pain

Can You Train Your Brain to Cope with Pain?

Within the population, roughly 20 to 25% of people living with chronic pain. In the US, , the most common form of chronic pain, affects between 24 and 30% of the population. Many of those living with any of the the various types of arthritis will also experience chronic pain.

Because this form of chronic pain is so common, scientists have conducted considerable research on the topic. What the research has revealed over the last two decades is the way in which the presence of chronic pain alters the brain.

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A Busy Er Doctor Slows Down To Help Patients Cope With Adversity

“Soldiers in the heat of the moment don’t recognize the pain that’s happening,” Linden says. But once that moment is over, those same soldiers may feel a lot of pain from something minor, like a hypodermic needle, he says.

The brain also determines the emotion we attach to each painful experience, Linden says. That’s possible, he explains, because the brain uses two different systems to process pain information coming from our nerve endings.

One system determines the pain’s location, intensity and characteristics: stabbing, aching, burning, etc.

“And then,” Linden says, “there is a completely separate system for the emotional aspect of pain the part that makes us go, ‘Ow! This is terrible.’ “

Linden says positive emotions like feeling calm and safe and connected to others can minimize pain. But negative emotions tend to have the opposite effect. Torturers have exploited that aspect for centuries.

“If they want to accentuate pain during torture they can do this with humiliation with an unpredictable schedule of delivering pain,” Linden says. “Those things will make the emotional component of the pain experience stronger.”

CIA interrogators used both tactics after Sept. 11, according to a Senate report released late last year.

One thing scientists are still trying to understand is precisely how the brain regulates the perception of pain. A team from Brown University has found some clues.

Sensing Pain: A Relay From Stubbed Toe To Brain

In your body, there are special sensory neurons called nociceptors whose job it is to tell the body this feels bad! . There are many different kinds of nociceptors some detect harmful chemicals , others harmful temperatures , and still others detect bodily damage . Nociceptors can also differ in the way they relay messages to the brain. Some, called A-fibers, have a fatty myelin sheath surrounding their long, arm-like axons that acts like insulation on a wire to help messages get to the brain quickly. These neurons were responsible for that first burst of pain in my big toe right when I stubbed it. Another type of nociceptor, called a C-fiber nociceptor, conducts signals much more slowly, but has many branches so that it reports to the brain from many different areas of the body. This type of nociceptor is associated with diffuse pain, and is likely to blame for that achey, burning feeling I have in the front of my foot right now.

Lets follow the stubbed toe message along its way to the brain. First, the message passes from my foot, up my leg, and into my spinal cord, where it is relayed to neurons whose fibers climb all the way to the brain. Up through the brainstem these fibers go, traveling in bundles to the brain itself where the message ping-pongs between the thalamus, hypothalamus, and a number of other regions scientists are just beginning to parse . The electrical communication between these regions gives rise to the feeling of pain.

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