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The Anatomy of Pain

  • Harry J. GouldIII
  • Alan David Kaye
Chapter

Abstract

In years past, the prevailing approach to providing pain control was focused on identifying underlying etiologies or pathologic syndromes, e.g., low back pain, trigeminal neuralgia, and cancer pain, that produce the pain. While treating the presumed source of the pain, attempts to improve the accompanying discomfort relied largely on the use of non-opioid medications and the limited use of opioid and adjuvant analgesics. Over the past 25 years, however, there has been a dramatic increase in our understanding of the nervous system and how stimuli associated with actual or potential tissue injury are transduced, transmitted, modulated, perceived, and interpreted to form the basis for initiating appropriate evasive or protective behavior, thereby avoiding or limiting injury. Our current bank of knowledge has led to the recognition that (1) pain in the chronic state is in itself a disease deserving consideration, assessment, and management, (2) pain is not a single entity but a complex, multifaceted experience that warrants detailed and comprehensive evaluation to elucidate symptoms that may reflect specific associated mechanisms amenable to targeted treatment [1, 2], and (3) treatment modalities and management approaches not heretofore considered can be effective and can improve the quality of life for those suffering with pain. This chapter will provide a brief overview of the anatomy of pain that forms the basis for current practice.

Keywords

Dorsal Horn Trigeminal Neuralgia Rostral Ventromedial Medulla Repetitive Firing Nociceptive Signal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Dr. Dennis Paul for his helpful comments and suggestions in the preparation of this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology and NeuroscienceLouisiana State University Health Sciences CenterNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Interventional Pain ManagementUniversity Hospital and Ochsner Kenner HospitalKennerUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyLouisiana State University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.Department of PharmacologyLouisiana State University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA

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