Advertisement

How does my body feel pain?

Your body has roughly twenty different nerve endings in the skin that tell you if something is hot, cold, or going to be painful. The nerve endings convey this information to the brain and spinal cord, also known as the central nervous system, areas where we perceive the stimuli. To accomplish this, the nerve endings of the sensory receptors convert mechanical, thermal, or chemical energy into electrical signals or the painful sensations you actually feel: searing, burning, pounding, or throbbing, among others.

However, pain is more than what you feel at a particular anatomical site. Researchers believe that pain is in your nerves.

Diet for a Pain-Free Life: A Revolutionary Plan to Lose Weight, Stop Pain, Sleep Better and Feel Great in 21 Days, ADA...sound nutritional advice...do-able, delicious..a godsend to pain sufferers.

More About this Book

Diet for a Pain-Free Life: A Revolutionary Plan to Lose Weight, Stop Pain, Sleep Better and Feel Great in 21 Days, ADA...sound nutritional advice...do-able, delicious..a godsend to pain sufferers.

Do you wake up each morning aching with joint or muscle pain? Have you been trying to lose stubborn belly fat for years? Do you wish you could be active without pain medications? Look no further:...

When a person experiences pain, the perception of pain involves a coordinated effort between the peripheral nerves, spinal cord and brain.

Peripheral nerves associated with the skin, muscles, connective tissue, bones, joints and the lining of internal organs are equipped with specialized receptors called nociceptors. When nociceptors detect injury or the potential for injury, they initiate a pain message and send it along the peripheral nerves toward your spinal column. This message is sent in the form of an electrical impulse. The spinal cord then transmits the message to the brain. In the brain, the electrical signal translates into the sensation known as pain.

Have you ever noticed how it takes longer to feel pain from a stubbed toe compared to a hurt finger? That's because the nerves transmitting the pain message from your foot to your brain are relatively long compared to nerves running from your hands to your brain; it takes longer for a pain message from your foot to register in the brain.

Dr. David Kuhl
Hospice & Palliative Medicine Specialist
Pain begins with a physical stimulus (damage to tissue or nerves) which is modified in the brain. It results in an awareness that something harmful or noxious is happening somewhere in the body. This results in an emotional response, a behavior that is associated with intense feelings of displeasure. Pain has a protective purpose. It is a warning sign of wounding or damage.
What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom For The End Of Life

More About this Book

What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom For The End Of Life

Facing death results in more fear and anxiety than any other human experience. Though much has been done to address the physical pain suffered by those with a terminal illness, Western medicine has...

Pain acts as a warning to protect your body from getting seriously hurt. In order to feel pain, your skin has danger receptors. For example, when you touch something too hot, a relay system is set up in your body. The danger receptors are called into action and release chemical messengers. The messengers carry the danger message along your nerves, all the way to your spinal cord and then along the spinal cord to your brain. When the message arrives, the brain decides if something needs to be done. It sounds an alarm (pain) and sends a pain message, so that you know which part of your body is hurting and what your body needs to do. All of this happens really quickly; so if you burn yourself, you feel pain almost right away. Although the pain can be intense at first, it fades quickly. When the messages disappear, it stops hurting.

Continue Learning about Pain

Exercise & Pain
Exercise & Pain
When you live with chronic musculoskeletal pain, exercising might be the last thing you feel like doing. But it pays to keep moving. Workouts encourag...
Read More
How is the pain from central pain syndrome different than normal pain?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
The pain caused by nerve damage is very different from the pain that most of us have experienced. Ce...
More Answers
6 Ways to Stay Pain Free This Winter
6 Ways to Stay Pain Free This Winter6 Ways to Stay Pain Free This Winter6 Ways to Stay Pain Free This Winter6 Ways to Stay Pain Free This Winter
Ease irritated joints and avoid cold-weather injuries with these expert-approved tips.
Start Slideshow
How Do I Identify Pre-Pain Symptoms to Avoid Chronic Pain?
How Do I Identify Pre-Pain Symptoms to Avoid Chronic Pain?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.