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Basic neurophysiological mechanisms of pain and pain control

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Abstract

In this article, I will give an overview of the physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms in the nervous system that are relevant for pain, with emphasis on ischemia-related pain. First of all, it is practical to subdivide pain according to the supposed pathogenic mechanisms into the following four major classes, as seen from a neurophysiologist’s point of view:

  • Nociceptor pain, due to excitation of high threshold sensory nerve endings by potentially destructive mechanical, thermal or chemical stimuli, or by ischemia.

  • Neuropathic pain or neuralgia, due to mechanical or metabolic injury of nerves, including nerve ischemia, resulting in ectopic impulse generation in peripheral or central neurons and axons.

  • Dysregulation or reactive pain, due to inadequate regulatory effects by motor, sympathetic or neurohumoral systems, e.g., pain related to muscle spasms, headache of vascular origin or ischemia pain.

  • Psychosomatic pain, due to, for example, emotional stress from the social environment.

Keywords

  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Dorsal Horn
  • Dorsal Root Ganglion Neuron
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation
  • Spinal Dorsal Horn

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.

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© 1994 Dr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Darmstadt

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Zimmermann, M. (1994). Basic neurophysiological mechanisms of pain and pain control. In: Horsch, S., Claeys, L. (eds) Spinal Cord Stimulation. Steinkopff. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-48441-4_1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-48441-4_1

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