Chronic Pain Explained

Technology advances over the past few decades have given research scientists the ability to study the human nervous system in ways never before possible. Now we have techniques that can be used to see in detail how different areas of the nervous system function… and so in recent times the mysteries of chronic pain have unravelled before our eyes.

Pain is actually an essential survival mechanism for human survival. It alerts us that something is wrong and motivates us to avoid damage. In fact people with congenital analgesia (inability to feel pain) experience reduced life expectancy as a result of the obvious problems that arise from not having this important survival mechanism in place.

While pain normally functions to warn us about tissue damage or potential tissue damage, in chronic pain the pain system itself is not functioning properly leading sufferers to experience often severe debilitating pain in the absence of any tissue damage. The video below gives a very good explanation of one of the ways the nervous system malfunctions in the case of chronic pain.


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Mark Barrett /