Chapter

The physiology of acute pain

Lesley Bromley

in Acute Pain

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199234721
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191739972 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199234721.003.0001

Series: Oxford Pain Management Library

The physiology of acute pain

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Acute pain as a result of tissue damage is self-limiting.

Impulses are generated in primary sensory nerves by chemical mediators released from the damaged tissues.

The spinal cord receives these impulses in the dorsal horn.

At the level of the spinal cord, the impulses can be amplified or reduced in amplitude by descending inputs.

At the level of the spinal cord, the representation of the painful area and the sensitivity of other, surrounding areas can be modified.

At the level of the brainstem and thalamus, further modification can take place.

The final perception of the pain can be modified by other central phenomena such as anxiety and fear.

New imaging techniques have allowed a greater understanding of cortical representation of pain.

The role of the glia in maintaining painful states is evolving.

Chapter.  2311 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Critical Care ; Pain Medicine

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